Armenian banks not prohibited from serving Iranian citizens – CBA
/Nov 21/Public Radio of Armenia/

Banks in Armenia have not been instructed to refuse to serve Iranian citizens.

The Central Bank of Armenia does not prohibit banks from serving citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran with any directive or normative act,” the CBA said in written comments to Public Radio of Armenia.

“The Republic of Armenia is closely cooperating with international financial institutions – the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and is member of the Council of Europe’s MONEYVAL monitoring body,” the Bank said.

According to law, the Armenian banks have to carry out customer risk assessment, classify those who are in contact with non-complying countries as high-risk customers and take steps to conduct a deeper analysis.

The Central bank said that banks might refrain from serving a group of customers, taking onto consideration the restrictions enforced by partner and correspondent banks and does not rule out citizens of Iran could be among such clients.

“This approach is not new and has been applied before during sanctions that were in place years ago,” the CBA said.

The Bank said the “stir is not natural” and pursues the private interests of a certain group or groups.

Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told a press conference on Tuesday that “Armenia ses no need in reconsudering its relations with Iran.

Parliament approves 2019 state budget
/Nov 22/

YEREVAN – The Armenian parliament adopted the 2019 state budget bill.

66 MPs voted in favor of the draft budget, 4 voted against and 2 abstained.

Republican lawmakers Eduard Sharmazanov, Arpine Hovhannisyan and Armen Ashotyan were among those who voted in down. Ahead of the vote they announced they will vote against the bill.

“Despite the fact that the HHK [Republican faction] has announced it will vote in favor, I will vote against. This is a regressive budget, this isn’t an inert budget, and I will vote against the bill,” said Sharmazanov, who is also the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

However, HHK faction leader Vahram Baghdasaryan said that their stance has not changed, but anyhow lawmakers are free to vote at their discretion.

Tsarukyan faction MP Tigran Urikhanyan said that the atmosphere of inequality has been manifested by the budget bills of the previous years. “Our faction expresses its support for the implementation of obligations assumed by the incumbent government,” he said.

During earlier debates the HHK, the ARF (Dashnaktsutyun) and Tsarukyan factions had said they will vote in favor of the bill.

Growing interest by third countries in deepening commercial ties is a major success, says EEC Board Chairman
/Nov 23/

Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Tigran Sargsyan delivered remarks during an international conference titled “Eurasian Economic Integration” during which he highlighted the need to pay attention to other global integration projects which will enable to create Eurasian brands and will help the movement of goods of the Eurasian Economic Union to the markets of third countries.

The EEC Board Chairman said the EAEU has proved its effectiveness and stability despite the fact of being a Eurasian structure. He reminded that next year the EAEU member states will mark the 5th anniversary of the contract on the creation of the Union.

The EEC has fixed a growth of mutual trade between the EAEU member states, improvement of the Union’s structure and strengthening of cooperation ties. “This speaks about the fact that the implementation of the main provisions enshrined in the Union’s contract gives positive results for the Union’s economy”, Tigran Sargsyan said.

He highlighted the fact that there is a growing interest by the third countries in the development and deepening of commercial ties with the Union. “This speaks about the fact that the Eurasian Economic Union as an integration union, has been developed”, he said.

Sargsyan also touched upon the current challenges which should be eliminated. He stated that there are some barriers for the implementations of four freedoms. The EEC Board Chairman also emphasized the need to create Eurasian brands.

Pashinyan: Economic revolution to be expected after elections
/Nov 24/Panorama/

“Forming a government of agreement after extraordinary parliamentary elections makes no sense. What is the meaning of a government of agreement, after the elections there must be a strong government elected by the people,” the Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told reporters during the march held in Yerevan today?

Speaking about the upcoming elections in Artsakh and the necessity of a revolution there, he said he fully supported the current Artsakh authorities.
“The people of Artsakh will form a legitimate government. The people of Artsakh are a decisive force in Artsakh and we perceive Artsakh as such,” said Pashinyan.
To the question what people should expect after the elections, Pashinyan replied: “An economic revolution”.

Talking about investments, he mentioned that production of household appliances will be lanched in the town of Merdzavan and expressed hope that the Armenian brand of TV sets and household items will succeed.

 “A new textile factory will be opened in Shirak province. There is an unprecedented activity in the real estate market. If this continues, a new upsurge will start in the fields of construction, textile and production,” he said.

Housing prices in Armenian capital up 23 percent
/Nov 27/ARKA/

YEREVAN – The number of real estate transactions registered in Armenia in 2018  September and October surged by 27.1% from the year before triggering a rise in the prices for apartments in the center of Yerevan, Sarkhat Petrosyan, the head of the State Real Estate Cadastre Committee, said at a press conference today.
He said prices for housing in downtown Yerevan, when compared to September-October last year, rose by 23%, indicating a positive trend in the market. He said the reasons behind the rise may be different, but the main ones are linked with positive expectations.
“I am sure that this growth trend will continue. It may slow down a bit before the parliamentary elections (scheduled for December 9), but after them, in January, we can expect even greater growth,” Petrosyan said.
According to him, the regions of Armenia also play an important role in increasing the number of transactions. He said the number of transactions outside Yerevan in the reporting period grew by 27.6%, up from 26.2% in Yerevan.
According to the State Real Estate Cadastre Committee, the average market price of one square meter of housing in apartment buildings in Yerevan in September, if compared to August, increased by 0.8%. At the same time, compared to the same period last year, the average market value of one square meter of housing increased by 10.6%.

Armenian acting premier promises full tax exemption to micro businesses
/Nov 28/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Amendment of Armenia’s tax code will bring a complete tax exemption to micro businesses, Armenian Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Wednesday at a rally staged in Noyemberyan as part of his party’s election campaign. 
“I can’t say when exactly, since this depends on political things, but as soon as the tax code will be amended, micro businesses will enjoy a full tax exemption,” he said. 
“In other words, those businesses having annual turnover of up to AMD 20-24 million will be exempted from taxes, and such businesses are widespread especially in provinces, including Noyemberyan.” 
Pashinyan said that self-employed taxi drivers will be rid of the necessity of paying for their licenses. 
“We are doing that to promote work and working people in our country,” he said. 
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan resigned October 16 to clear way for the dissolution of the parliament and holding early parliamentary elections. Under the Armenian Constitution, early elections are held if lawmakers fail twice within 14 days to appoint a prime minister. 
Pashinyan was elected as PM by the country’s National Assembly after former president turned-prime minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned on April 23 under immense public pressure provided by weeks of nationwide protest against Sargsyan and his Republican Party. 
Nine political parties and 2 blocs will be contesting the polls. They  are My Step bloc, the Prosperous Armenia Party, the National Progress Party, the Christian-National Revival, the Sasna Tsrer All-Armenian Party, the Orinats Yerkir Party, the We  bloc, the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Party, the Bright Armenia bloc, the Republican Party of Armenia, the Social Democratic Party and the Decision of Citizen party.

Dutch enterprise agency intends to expand its activity in Armenia
/Nov 28/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Armenian Ambassador in the Netherlands Tigran Balayan met Wednesday with Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO) Advisor Brigitte Groenland and Blew Dairies Technical Director Martin de Jong and discussed RVO’s ongoing projects in Armenia and the possibility of their engagement. 
Martin De Jong briefed about his study on Dairy sector development in Armenia. 
Engagement of Dutch IT companies in Armenia was discussed as well.