More than GEL 140 Million Spent on Remuneration of Government’s PR Service Staff in 2013-2020 - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
GEO

More than GEL 140 Million Spent on Remuneration of Government’s PR Service Staff in 2013-2020

09 December, 2021

More than GEL 140 Million Spent on Remuneration of Government’s PR Service Staff in 2013-2020

Georgian government agencies spent GEL 140.5 million on remuneration of PR service staff between 2013 and 2020 after the Georgian Dream government came to power. The present report covers the data of 322 government agencies, including legislative, executive, judicial and local self-government bodies, as well as legal entities of public law (LEPLs).

Key findings:

  • Georgian government agencies spent GEL 140.5 million on remuneration of PR service staff under the Georgian Dream governance. The year 2016 saw the highest spending – more than GEL 19.9 million.
  • In 2020, as compared to 2012, the number of PR service staff working for government agencies increased from 578 to 969 (68%).
  • In 2018, the Tbilisi City Hall set up a Public Communications Agency, a non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal person, incorporating PR services operating in the agencies subordinated to district administrations and the City Hall. An average of 56 persons were employed in the Tbilisi City Hall in 2020 and GEL 1.6 million was spent on their remuneration.
  • Transparency International Georgia requested public information from 322 government agencies. Unfortunately, 35 government agencies, including the Government Administration, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, either did not provide or provided incomplete information.

Number and remuneration of PR service staff in 2013-2020

The number of PR service staff and the associated remuneration expenses have sharply increased in government agencies since the Georgian Dream government came to power in 2012. 

The year 2016 saw the highest spending on remuneration amounting to about GEL 20 million. In 2020, GEL 18.4 million was spent on remuneration of PR service staff[1].

It is noteworthy that several large government agencies did not provide the data, including the Ministry of Defense – for 2020, and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, as well as the Government Administration[2] – for 2019-2020. So, the actual number of employees and expenses are likely to be higher during that period of time. 

 

*Remuneration includes salaries, salary supplements and bonuses

The study has revealed that the number of PR service staff continued to increase annually from 2012 to 2018. The highest number - 1,107 was employed in 2018. 

 

Requested public information

Transparency International Georgia has published a number of reports in previous years to identify the number and remuneration of PR service employees. Due to the high public interest in the issue, TI Georgia expanded the list of government agencies it applied to for the information about the number[3] and remuneration[4] of PR service staff under the Georgian Dream governance. 

Finally, we requested public information from 322 government agencies. Unfortunately, 35 government agencies either did not provide or provided incomplete information. We, however, used the data from our reports for 2017-2018 and 2012-2017 sent by these agencies in previous years. 

The following government agencies did not provide the requested information about PR service employees: the Ministry of Defense (the 2020 data), the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (the 2019-2020 data), the Government Administration (did not provide the 2019-2020 data and incompletely provided the 2018 data). TI Georgia has filed a lawsuit against the Government Administration, the Ministries of Economy and Defense, demanding the provision of requested public information, in accordance with Georgian legislation. 

Largest government agencies in terms of employment and remuneration

The Government Administration, the Tbilisi City Hall, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Parliament of Georgia, the Administration of the President of Georgia have been the largest government agencies by number of PR service employees and their remuneration in different years. The Administration of the President of Georgia joined the list of top agencies in 2013 only[5]. In 2018, the Tbilisi City Hall set up Public Communications Agency[6], a non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal person (N(N)LP), incorporating PR services operating in the agencies subordinated to district administrations and the City Hall and in the field of PR City Hall is a leader in the total number of salaries paid to employees.

Since some large organizations did not provide information in 2018-2020 that could have significantly changed the overall picture of these years, TI Georgia will provide a separate chart on the number and remuneration of the employees of press services in 2018-2020.

A breakdown of top agencies by number of PR service employees in 2018-2020 and 2013-2017 looks as follows[7]:

Below is the list of top three agencies in terms of the remuneration paid to PR service staff in 2018-2020 and 2013-2017: 

 

 

 

Non-transparent Government Administration

It should be separately mentioned that the Government Administration, which is one of the top agencies in terms of the number of PR service staff and their remuneration. It is confirmed by the report published by TI Georgia in 2018 for which we obtained the requested information after going to court.

The information[8] provided in 2019 radically differed from the data provided in 2018, while the information for 2019-2020 was not sent at all. Nevertheless, the Government Administration tops the list of agencies in terms of the amount of remuneration paid to PR service personnel in 2013-2020. According to the available data, in 2013-2018[9], the Government Administration spent a total of GEL 12.3 million on the remuneration of PR service staff.

 

[1] The 2020 data do not contain the data of several agencies, including large government agencies, such as the Government Administration, the Ministries of Economy and Defense. Despite our requests, they did not provide public information.  

[2] The Government provided incomplete data for 2018

[3] Permanent and supernumerary employees

[4] Salaries, salary supplements and bonuses

[5] Mikheil Saakashvili from the United National Movement served as the President of Georgia till November 2013; Giorgi Margvelashvili, a candidate of the Georgian Dream party, won the October 27, 2013 presidential elections https://civil.ge/archives/122840; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24696261;

[6] Extract from the Public Registry https://bit.ly/3w7FGjo

[7] In all cases, when the agencies provided a breakdown of the number of employees (both permanent and supernumerary) by month and the data differed from each other, we calculated an average annual number.

[8] TI Georgia requested complete data for 2017 and 2018.

[9] The Government Administration provided incomplete data for 2018.

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