Overview of representative expenses incurred by the Georgian government in 2013-2017
Responding to high public interest towards government spending, Transparency International Georgia looked into representative expenses of the last 5 years, i.e. official receptions and dinners, parties and events, excursions and cultural events. The public and the media frequently question whether these expenses are justified.
- In 2013-2017, public institutions under the Georgian Dream government incurred representative expenses of more than GEL 49.2 million.
- The largest amount, more than GEL 12 million, was spent in 2017.
- During the 5 year period, public institutions spent an average of GEL 27 thousand per day on representative activities.
- Following a dip after 2012, representative expenses started increasing in 2014 and exceeded the 2012 mark in 2017.
- Among public institutions that disclosed the requested public information, the Ministry of Internal Affairs had the highest representative expense.
- Top five spenders include the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Georgian National Tourism Administration, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tbilisi City Hall.
- The amount spent by the above 5 institutions is more than half of the total spent on representative activities.
TI Georgia studied data from 117 public institutions. Information was requested from 142 institutions, of which 18 refused to disclose their data, while 7 had not incurred any representative expenses.
We would like to state as a disclaimer that the provided data may not reflect the full amount of spending on representative activities, since several large public institutions refused to disclose their data: Government Administration, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Energy. Transparency International Georgia has taken these cases to court.
While conferences and forums are important, related expenditures must be thoroughly analyzed in order to prevent inefficient spending of the state budget. The government must also explain the reasons behind the continued increase of spending in this area.
In a period of 5 years from 2013 to 2017, public institutions under the Georgian Dream government spent more than GEL 49 million on organizing various official events and guest receptions. Following a dip after 2012, the expenses started increasing in 2014 and exceeded the 2012 mark in 2017.
The highest spenders
The Ministry of Internal Affairs incurred the highest representative expenses, followed by the Georgian National Tourism Administration, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tbilisi City Hall.
The amount spent by top 5 highest spending public institutions – GEL 26 million – is more than half of the total representative expenses:
- In 2016, the Ministry of Education spent more than GEL 182 thousand on representative activities, far exceeding the previous yearly maximum of GEL 82 thousand. The Ministry did not specify the cause for such a sharp increase during the parliamentary election year.
- In 2017, the National Center for Assessment and Examination spent more than GEL 400 thousand on representative activities, 100 times more than the GEL 4 thousand it spent the previous year, and almost as much as the total expenditure of the Ministry of Education in 2013-2017. The amount spent in 2017 far exceeded the previous yearly maximum of GEL 86 thousand as well. The Center covered the 2017 expenses from the funding it received from the Millennium Challenge Fund.
- The Innovation and Technology Agency of the Ministry of Economy spent more than GEL 253 thousand in 2016, compared to the previous yearly maximum of GEL 136 thousand. The Agency spent GEL 98 thousand on New Year guest receptions alone.