EXPERTS: ARMENIA SHOULD INTRODUCE AN INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS OMBUDSMAN
26.02.2016
14:00
Armenia needs a business ombudsman to improve the effective protection of the interests of business in the country. Besides, the NGOs defending the interests of business should activate the work with government bodies.

It is also important in terms of economic development and creation of favorable business environment, to build an effective private sector – government dialogue, said the experts who met with representatives of the business community and the government of Armenia within the framework of the EU program “East invest 2”. Over the past week within the framework of the program “East invest 2” supported by EU, the European specialists together with Armenian experts and representatives of the organizations, protecting the interests of business, carried out a number of meetings and discussions with representatives of the government and business community. The aim of the program was to identify the main obstacles and challenges to the dialogue government - private sector, and work to solve the problems. The program will last one and a half year.

The representatives of business community, especially small and medium entrepreneurs identified several key issues that need to be addressed. ''These are: effective defense of interests in relations with government bodies, problems with customs clearance of goods for import, lack of finances, high interest rate loans, problems with availability of foreign markets, etc.’’ told the chairman of the Association of Small and Medium Business Hakob Avagyan at the Media Center press conference, adding that informing the community is an important issue for the business.

Despite various official statements about the importance of the dialogue between the government and the private sector, it turns out, that often there are cases when representatives of business community are not even aware of the legislative changes governing their sector.  ''Government bodies are making amendments to the law, and the businessman is violating them, and then only does he learn that the law was changed 30 days ago. Awareness of the parties is extremely important,'' Avagyan said.

In order to effectively and efficiently respond to the challenges of business community, experts believe that Armenia needs to introduce the institute of business ombudsman. ''This will ensure the continuity of the advocacy of the business community,'' said Hakob Avagyan.   

''Business ombudsman can perform various functions. Of great interest is the institute of business-ombudsman in the Ukraine. The institute is in charge of two main functions. 1) To deal with specific problems of the enterprise, co-operating with the government. These are individual problems. 2) There are coordination problems with the law regulation. In this case, the institute advises the government and the legislative structure,'' said expert and political scientist, representative of the European Association of Small and Medium Business Christian Gesl.

According to Diana Sarumova, the representative of the European Business Association, sometimes there are complaints about the actions of the tax authorities of the organizations that are engaged in business in Armenia and work transparently. ''They work very transparently, they have opened job positions, but still there are many problems, when all this is not encouraged, that creates a hostile environment for further investments. Sometimes you hear from them comments like – if they do not make advances, we will close the business and leave Armenia,'' Sarumova said, adding, that it is necessary to conduct extensive work to attract foreign investment in order to create favorable conditions for business.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan

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