We don’t breed them like this over here:
FORGET eBay. If you want to buy a dysfunctional boiler house, an international airport, a tea plantation, an oil terminal, a proctology clinic, a vineyard, a telephone company, a film studio, a lost-property office or a beekeepers’ regulatory board, then call Kakha Bendukidze, Georgia’s new economy minister. His privatisation drive has made him a keen seller of all the above. And for the right price he will throw in the Tbilisi State Concert Hall and the Georgian National Mint as well.
If only he could get his hands on the BBC!
Next yearï¿½if not soonerï¿½he will cut the rate of income tax from 20% to 12%, payroll taxes from 33% to 20%, value-added tax from 20% to 18%, and abolish 12 kinds of tax altogether. He wants to let leading foreign banks and insurers open branches freely. He wants to abolish laws on legal tender, so that investors can use whatever currency they want. He hates foreign aidï¿½it “destroys your ability to do things for yourself,” he saysï¿½though he concedes that political realities will oblige him to accept it for at least the next three years or so.
I hear that HMG has kindly offered to take in any unwanted taxes and resettle them here in the UK.
As to where investors should put their money, “I don’t know and I don’t care,” he says, and continues: “I have shut down the department of industrial policy. I am shutting down the national investment agency. I don’t want the national innovation agency.” Oh yes, and he plans to shut down the country’s anti-monopoly agency too. “If somebody thinks his rights are being infringed he can go to the courts, not to the ministry.” He plans, as his crowning achievement, to abolish his own ministry in 2007.
Up until a few years ago, this country was run by communists.