“The Government Program and RA Economic Challenges: Declarative Provisions or Concrete Measures?”
RA Government program, Tax Code adopted recently, general administration and real economic claims do not correlate to one another. The economy requires non-standard approaches, concrete measures, the government stipulates it to some extent in its program, but the human resources changes and the planned fiscal policy are not conducive to solve that problem. Ashot Khurshudyan, an economist, said this during the discussion at Media Center on October 25.

The economist said that the overall motivation of the government system in Armenia and the requirements of the economy are different. "They do not correspond to each other in our government system. There is a great lack of trust and the tax planning principle is applied which should be abandoned," the expert said, adding that there are contradictions between Armenia's economic and fiscal policies. "The new tax code was adopted, which is based on the principle of collecting taxes and conducting the budget as much as possible in these circumstances. I think that if the tax code were in line with today’s messages and today’s government program, it would be different as I see contradictions in the messages," he said.

Hakob Avagyan, Head of SME Cooperation Association, Tatul Manaseryan, Head of “Alternative” Research Center, Economist and Ashot Khurshudyan participated in the discussion on “The Government Program and RA Economic Challenges: Declarative Provisions or Concrete Measures?” at Media Center on October 25.

Hakob Avagyan gave much importance to the establishment of institutions in order the mechanisms, aimed at, for example, reducing the level of corruption, work precisely. He also referred to Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan’s recent interview with TVs during which he said that anyone could freely import goods into the country from now on. In the case of any obstacles, he urged to call him personally. "I do not want to see a Prime Minister who assumes the role of business ombudsman. Finally, we should establish such an institution, not to have a personalized Prime Minister who is available on the phone," Hakob Avagyan said.

The speaker said that the Government program included the provisions that the government will try to make analyses in 2017 and invest such mechanisms in 2018, to support small and medium businesses. "This reveals the fact that we were not able to ensure the submission and acceptance of the previous governments. These analyses have already been made, they are there, and they just need to be applied. There are numerous analyses of the experts of the European Bank on this issue," Hakob Avagyan said.

After the government change, he anticipates human resource changes, particularly in the customs. "The customs employee was used to other working rules and cannot live on low wages," he said.

Tatul Manaseryan assessed the government program in a positive light. At first, he spoke about the project development process and positively assessed the fact that a new culture is formed in the phase of document development and presentation, as the professional layer of the civil society is engaged in both the development of the document and the decision-making process. Although the government headed by Karen Karapetyan will be in the office until the first half of the upcoming parliamentary elections of 2017 that is for 6 months he expressed confidence that the program can be implemented within this period.  

He positively assessed the fact that for the first time "diagnostics" of the economy was mentioned in the government program, and expenditure savings were made. "If no diagnosis is made, any project is null and void. The most serious of the issues is to get rid of parasites. This applies to both the human resources and the people who are lifelong observers. They can only criticize and do nothing," Manaseryan said.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to arshaluismghdesyan@pjc.am.

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