In the first quarter of 2023, 63% of the surveyed member companies of the Georgian Entrepreneurs Association say they plan to increase investments this year compared to last year, 28% say investment volumes will be unchanged, while 9% forecast a decline.
What are the reasons for business optimism?
Executive Director of the Georgian Business Association (BAG) Levan Vepkhvadze says that the trend started in 2022 continues among businessmen.
“If in the last 2-3 years, especially during the pandemic, weak demand was a hindrance for business development, today only 9% of the interviewed companies say that limited demand for their goods and services is still a problem. At the same time, about 90% of companies believe the sales are positive. Sales and financial flows means an opportunity to launch new projects as well as an increase in investment and new jobs creation,” he says.
Official statistics show that economic growth has accelerated, employment levels have increased, today we can say for sure that the levels have reached the pre-pandemic period.
In the words of Levan Vepkhvadze, the most positive trends were recorded in construction and trade, while optimism in industry is rather low.
At the same time, the salaries and staff problem still remains important.
“The current wages are not as low as they were 2-3 years ago - salaries have increased, but, businesses still faces problems of qualified personnel. We saw a 60% increase in wages. Profits in the retail sector have nearly doubled in the last two years. Despite this, when asked about the problems they face, the companies say the staff shortage. This is a very bad trend, and if it is not resolved in the near future, the staff lack may become an obstacle for business development,” Levan Vepkhvadze stresses.