EBRD ready to assist Armenian government’s reforms: Pashinyan meets Bank’s President in Davos EBRD ready to assist Armenian government’s reforms: Pashinyan meets Bank’s President in Davos
/Jan 22/

Armenian Prime Minister Nicol Pashinyan met with President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Suma Chakrabarti on the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum, the PM’s Office reported.

During the meeting PM Pashinyan highly appreciated the cooperation between the Armenian government and the EBRD and attached importance to its further expansion. Pashinyan said the EBRD programs play an important role for the agenda of reforms and economic development initiated by the government. He also highlighted the EBRD programs in Armenia for small and medium business and added that the Armenian government’s goal is to boost the business field. Nikol Pashinyan said the government’s actions are directed for conducting an economic revolution and in this sense the active and productive cooperation with the Bank can play a great role.

Suma Chakrabarti stated that the EBRD is ready to continue providing support to the Armenian government in programs and reforms expected in various sectors. The EBRD President said he plans to visit Armenia in March to discuss the new cooperation strategy with Armenia which will attach great place to the programs for the SMEs. He expressed his and the Bank’s support to the Armenian government aimed at implementing the reforms, adding that this support will be both financial and consultative.

At the meeting the officials also exchanged views on various issues relating to the future mutual partnership.

PM’s staff saves 1 billion AMD during 2018
/Jan 23/

YEREVAN – The staff of the Prime Minister of Armenia has saved 1 billion AMD from the budget during 2018, the PM’s chief of staff Eduard Aghajanyan said on Facebook, reports Armenpress.

He said 1 billion 021 million AMD out of the 7 billion 818 million AMD envisaged by the 2018 annual budget of the PM’s staff (excluding grants and loan programs) has been saved and returned to the state budget which comprises 13.05% of the total annual allocations.

Pashinyan highlights strengthening democracy economically
/Jan 23/

YEREVAN – The main challenge for the Government of Armenia is strengthening democracy economically. ARMENPRESS reports Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said in Davos during thematic debate “Defining the future of democracy”.

Answering the question of Martin Wolf, the facilitator of the debate, Pashinyan noted that last month parliamentary elections took place in Armenia which were assessed as free, transparent and democratic.

“We have huge success on democracy, but we also have big challenges and most important challenge is to make our democracy stronger economically. You know we had big problem for years and decades connected with electoral bribes, when people due to their poverty were actually forces to take electoral bribes. Of course, the revolution freed people from that duty, but now we have to make our citizens stronger and independent in economic sense.

You know there is small business, medium business, but we are going to create a new category like micro business and make this kind of business exempt from taxes with the hope to encourage and inspire our people and explain them that not only the government is responsible for overcoming their poverty, but also they should do something”, Pashinyan said.

“So, our main challenge is to make our democracy stronger economically and we hope to attract new FDIs to our country because we were able to fight corruption, to establish real rule of law and we are going to make periodical simplifications to attract more FDIs to our country”, Nikol Pashinyan said.

Armenia to have tax-free Micro-Business sector of economy
/Jan 23/

YEREVAN – The government has released the draft amendments to the tax code.

According to the bill published on the governmental online platform, the amendments envisage the creation of a new sector of economy – micro-business. Enterprises or businessmen not exceeding 24 million drams in revenue in the previous tax year can be considered micro-businesses.

Micro-businesses will be exempt from all kinds of taxes, according to the draft. But the businesses will pay 5000 drams monthly for every registered employee in final liabilities in terms of revenue tax.

Banks, crediting organizations, insurance companies, investment companies, currency market traders, pawnshops, currency exchange offices, gambling venue operators, and other similar businesses cannot be considered micro-businesses.

Government seeks flat revenue taxation
/Jan 24/

YEREVAN – The bill on amending the tax code brought forward by the government envisages a flat tax rate for revenue.

The proposed taxation system is set to be launched from September 1, 2019, if the bill is passed.

 The flat revenue tax will be 23%, and by 2023 the rate will gradually be decreased until it reaches 20%.

The tax rate will become 22% in 2020, 21% in 2021, 20,5% in 2022 and finally 20% in 2023.

Deputy finance minister considers flat income tax the best option for defining the tax
/Jan 24/

YEREVAN – The Armenian government discussed many versions on defining income tax, and as a result it stopped on the most preferable version, deputy finance minister Arman Poghosyan told reporters, reports Armenpress.

Commenting on the question that in case of the flat income tax those who receive up to 150.000 AMD salaries will appear in risky zone, the deputy minister said: “I think in the context of discussing this issue we first of all must understand what is the goal of the government to set a 23% flat income tax rate and gradually decrease it up to 20% in the coming years. The main goal of the government is to encourage the productive workforce and improve environment for entrepreneurship activity directed to export and therefore, to increase the level of our local product competitiveness in the foreign markets”.

The deputy minister said they have discussed numerous versions of income tax. “According to our assessment, all the scenarios that could suppose redistribution of income tax, in other words, collection of less revenues from the groups with low income and vice versa, were supposing major losses of tax revenues of the budget, which the government could not allow at this stage. This will lead to fiscal instability and risks”, he said. He added that although they have manageable loss of tax revenues in case of their selected scenario, but, according to their assessment, they receive growth in export and competitiveness in high productions.

According to the bill on making changes in the Tax Code, it is proposed to set a flat tax rate for incomes. The proposed tax rate – 23%, will enter into force on September 1, 2019. The flat income tax rate will gradually decrease, reaching 20% in 2023.

Well above the world average’ – Armenia ranked 47th among 180 countries in 2019 Economic Freedom Index
/Jan 26/

YEREVAN – Armenia is ranked 47th in the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, a list compiled by The Heritage Foundation, an American public policy think tank based in Washington D.C.

With a score of 67.7 Armenia is ranked in the “Moderately Free” section among 180 countries. Armenia is in between Poland (46) and Belgium (47).

Azerbaijan is ranked 60th, Turkey is 68th, Iran is 155th, while Georgia on the other hand, is ranked 16th in the world ranking.

“Armenia is ranked 24th among 44 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is slightly below the regional norm but well above the world average”, the Heritage Foundation said.

Venezuela and North Korea conclude the ranking at 179 and 180.

PM briefs Cabinet on numerous Davos meetings, expects economic results from positive political atmosphere
/Jan 27/

YEREVAN, – PM Nikol Pashinyan has chaired a consultation at his office with Cabinet members in charge of the country’s economic sector, the PM’s office said.

Pashinyan first briefed the Cabinet on the discussions with international partners at the Davos World Economic Forum, noting that a positive atmosphere is developed around Armenia from a political perspective, which must be succeeded in utilizing for having concrete results from an economic perspective.

The consultation also addressed the process of investment projects in various sectors.

“I would like to say in Davos we had meetings with representatives of a number of international partners, corporations and companies, during which agreements were reached. It is important for these agreements to gain momentum”, he said.

In particular, the PM said that during a meeting with the Marriott CEO, it was reaffirmed that the company will open another hotel in Yerevan in 2019. He said that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will send a delegation to Armenia to discuss investment opportunities and also assistance.

“With representatives of eBay we discussed the problems which Armenian citizens are having while shopping at eBay. We agreed that they will discuss this issue and we will find solutions. With VTB Bank, as you know, we are working for reaching a resolution of the situation over Teghut. We reached an agreement with the Polish prime minister that the economy ministers of both countries will work and try to identify the concrete sectors where Polish investments can be useful. We had a consultation with the deputy prime minister of Singapore, which is connected with, particularly air transportation. There is a preliminary agreement that the Singaporean government will provide assistance for the restoration of the Yerevan Botanical Garden, because as you know there is a world-famous botanical garden in Singapore. Basically, the Singaporean deputy PM confirmed that we can consider this issue solved, it only remains for the Yerevan City Hall to present a concrete project together with the Nature Protection ministry.

We reached an agreement with the Swiss president on Switzerland providing assistance to our country in terms of water resource management, because in this regard Switzerland is on a high level”.

Pashinyan also said that he discussed issues related to the Yerevan Zvartnots and the Gyumri Shirak airports with the executive of the Corporacion America. “Regarding Gyumri’s airport, they are awaiting our decisions in order to continue the investment program full swing. The emphasis over the Gyumri airport will be on low cost airlines. The conversation with EBRD relates to the process of involving affordable crediting resources for SMEs. At a meeting with representatives of the Russian Direct Investments Foundation, they suggested for a similar foundation to be created in Armenia for further effective cooperation, which is an interesting proposal and we must discuss it. During our discussions we invited all our partners to participate in the World Congress on Information Technology 2019.

Generally, I can say that from a political perspective a positive atmosphere is developed around our country, which we must be able to use for having concrete results in terms of economy,” the PM said.

The consultation then addressed numerous investment projects in different sectors.

Innovation and Technology Park will be constructed in Yerevan
/Jan 28/A1+/

Yerevan will become home to the first Innovation and Technology Park in the region to be constructed in Armenia. It will become the future workplace for more than 6000 leading professionals which will lead the integration of IT and innovation into all the major industries in the country, including engineering, finance, banking, healthcare, insurance, agriculture, mining, media, and telecommunication. 

The Innovation and Technology Park will differ from other parks with its type and scale. Currently, there are many different small and medium IT and engineering parks in the world. The Innovation and Technology Park which is being built in Yerevan will be the first multi-industry park among CIS and Eastern Europe countries in terms of represented industries and geography of companies originating from.

The philosophy of the Innovation and Technology Park is the creation of an “ecosystem of innovation”. This will be possible through the involvement of educational, research and development institutions along with startupers, venture funds, incubation and acceleration programmers. 

The Park claims to become the environment, where IT meets major industries and defines innovative products and services of future generation – putting Armenia and Armenian innovative products into a global innovation map.  

The initiative of the project comes from the “Galaxy” group of companies together with Armenian IT community. The project planning phases lasted for more than 2 years, and the details of this large-scale project will be released soon.

All businessmen in Armenia have equal market accessibility, says PM
/Jan 29/ArmenPress.ama /

YEREVAN – The Armenian government has succeeded in eliminating economic monopolies, PM Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with the Russian RBK TV.

“What does this mean, this doesn’t mean that someone has stopped trading of any type of product, this means that others too can enter these markets. This kind of opportunities did not exist in the past. Now these opportunities exist, and not only do they exist – they are also guaranteed,” Pashinyan said.

Pashinyan assured that there are no obstacles in Armenia in terms of market accessibility, and all businessmen have the same accessibility.

Asked at what expended the government succeeded in changing the rules of the game by which business operators having monopolies used to work for many years, Pashinyan said: “By the expense that now only one rule exists – the rule of law. Everyone is equal before the law”.

Pashinyan added that when he became PM he gathered the businessmen and told them that they do not have any corruption obligation. “Period. This says it all. Meaning no one is obliged to pay anything to anyone. The only obligation is to work by the law and pay taxes. If this rule is maintained, it means that there are no problems,” he said.

Արտադրության ոլորտում ներդրումներ են արվում. կապիտալ ներդրումները ՀՀ-ում շեշտակի աճել են
/Jan 29/

2018 թվականի հունվար-սեպտեմբերին, ըստ լայն տնտեսական դասակարգման (BEC), Հայաստան են ներկրվել 662.6 մլն դոլարի կապիտալ ապրանքներ (արտադրության կազմակերպման համար օգտագործվող սարքավորումներ և տեխնիկա)։

2017 թվականի նույն ժամանակահատվածի համեմատ՝ կապիտալ ապրանքների ներկրումն աճել է 260.6 մլն դոլարով կամ 64.8%-ով։ Այս մասին տեղեկանում ենք ՀՀ 2018թ. երրորդ եռամսյակի վճարային հաշվեկշռից, որը հրապարակել է Կենտրոնական բանկը։ Նախորդ տարվա միայն երրորդ եռամսյակում ներկրվել են մոտ 230 մլն դոլարի կապիտալ ապրանքներ, ինչը 2017 թվականի երրորդ եռամսյակի ցուցանիշը գերազանցում է 63.7 մլն դոլարով կամ 38.4%-ով։

Այս ցուցանիշը մեկնաբանել է նաեւ ՀՀ վարչապետ Նիկոլ Փաշինյանը: "Այս ցուցանիշի իմաստն այն է, որ Հայաստան են ներկրվել ապրանքներ, որոնք անհրաժեշտ են արտադրության կազմակերպման համար: 2018 թվականին ունեցել ենք տպավորիչ աճ, ինչը նշանակում է, որ արտադրության ոլորտում շոշափելի ներդրումներ են արվում", – գրել է նա իր Facebook-յան էջում:

Նկատենք, որ հունվար-սեպտեմբերին կապիտալ ապրանքների ներկրման աճն ամենաբարձրն է՝ մնացած ապրանքախմբերի համեմատ, գրում է b4b-ին։

Արդյունքում, կապիտալ ապրանքների կշիռը ներմուծման կառուցվածքում աճել է 4.4 տոկոսային կետով և 2018 թվականի հունվար-սեպտեմբերին կազմել 19.2%, որն աննախադեպ բարձր ցուցանիշ է վերջին տարիների կտրվածքով։

Նշենք նաև, որ նույն ժամանակահատվածում զգալիորեն աճել է նաև արտադրական պաշարների ներկրումը՝ 2017 թվականի հունվար-սեպտեմբերի 868.8 մլն դոլարից հասնելով 1 մլրդ 133.7 մլն դոլարի (2018թ. հունվար-սեպտեմբեր)։

Փողն էժանանում է. ԿԲ-ն վերաֆինանսավորման տոկոսադրույքն իջեցրել է 0.25 տոկոսով
/Jan 29/

2019 թ. հունվարի 29-ի նիստում ԿԲ խորհուրդը որոշեց իջեցնել վերաֆինանսավորման տոկոսադրույքը 0.25 տոկոսային կետով՝ սահմանելով այն 5.75%: Այս մասին հայտնում են ԿԲ-ի մամուլի ծառայությունից:

2018 թ. դեկտեմբերին գրանցվել է 1.5% գնաճ, որի պարագայում 12-ամսյա գնաճը կազմել է 1.8%․ սեզոնային ապրանքների գները ձևավորվել են համեմատաբար ցածր մակարդակում, ինչպես նաև որոշակի նվազել է բնականոն գնաճը։ Արդյունքում, առաջիկա ամիսներին ցածր գնաճային միջավայրը կպահպանվի և 12-ամսյա գնաճը կձևավորվի տատանումների թույլատրելի միջակայքի ստորին սահմանից ցածր մակարդակում։

Համաշխարհային տնտեսության աճի տեմպերը որոշակի թուլացման նշաններ են ցույց տալիս թե՛ առաջատար և թե՛ զարգացող երկրներում, իսկ առաջատար երկրների կենտրոնական բանկերը շարունակում են խստացնել դրամավարկային պայմանները: Արդյունքում, հիմնական ապրանքների միջազգային շուկաներում պահպանվում են գնաճային միջավայրի թուլացման միտումները, ինչից ելնելով ԿԲ խորհուրդը գնահատում է, որ առաջիկա ամիսներին արտաքին հատվածից գնաճային ճնշումներ չեն ակնկալվում:

Խորհուրդն արձանագրում է, որ 2018 թ. վերջին տնտեսական ակտիվությունը շարունակում է դեռևս թույլ մնալ, իսկ տարվա տնտեսական աճը սպասվում է 5.0%-ի շրջակայքում: Համախառն պահանջարկը թուլացումը մեծամասամբ պայմանավորված է հարկաբյուջետային քաղաքականության զսպող ընթացքով և մասնավոր ծախսումների աճի դանդաղմամբ։ Խորհուրդը գնահատում է նաև, որ ցածր գնաճը մասամբ կրում է կառուցվածքային բնույթ՝ տնտեսության և պետական քաղաքականության երկարաժամկետ փոփոխություններով պայմանավորված, որը նաև նպաստում է եկամուտների գնողունակության պահպանմանը և գնաճային սպասումների խարսխմանը։

Հաշվի առնելով վերոնշյալը՝ ԿԲ խորհուրդը նպատակահարմար է գտնում ավելացնել դրամավարկային պայմանների խթանման չափը՝ նվազեցնելով վերաֆինանսավորման տոկոսադրույքը 0.25 տոկոսային կետով և կիրառել երկարաժամկետ իրացվելիության ներարկման գործիքակազմը։ Միևնույն ժամանակ կանխատեսվող մակրոտնտեսական զարգացումների պարագայում, անհրաժեշտ կլինի խթանող պայմանների պահպանում ավելի երկար ժամանակահատվածում՝ միջնաժամկետում գների կայունության ապահովման համար։ Արդյունքում ակնկալվում է, որ գնաճը հիմնականում կպահպանվի նպատակային ցուցանիշից ցածր մակարդակում՝ կանխատեսվող հորիզոնի վերջում կայունանալով նպատակային 4% ցուցանիշի շուրջ:

Կանխատեսվող հորիզոնում գնաճի նպատակի իրագործման ռիսկերը դեռևս ներքևի ուղղությամբ են՝ պայմանավորված թե՛ արտաքին և թե՛ ներքին գործոններով: ԿԲ-ն ուշադրությամբ հետևում է մակրոտնտեսական զարգացումներին և ռիսկերի դրսևորման պարագայում ըստ անհրաժեշտության կճշգրտի դրամավարկային քաղաքականությունը՝ ապահովելով գների կայունությունը:

Global Finance ranks Armenia as 62nd safest country in the world
/Jan 30/Public Radio of Armenia/

Armenia is ranked 62nd among 128 states in the 2019 Global Finance ranking of safest countries in the world.

The new rankings published by Global Finance Magazine measures three factors: war and peace, personal security, and natural disaster risk.

Iceland tops the ranking followed by Switzerland and Finland, meanwhile Philippines is at the bottom.

Georgia is placed 49th, Azerbaijan and Iran are ranked 71st and Iran 77th respectively, while Turkey lags behind at 107th.

Economy minister, ADB delegation discuss PPP legislative package
/Jan 30/

YEREVAN – Armenia’s Minister of Economic Development and Investments Tigran Khachatryan has held a meeting with Asian Development Bank (ADB) Senior Financial Sector Economist João Farinha-Fernandes to discuss issues concerning the development of a legislative package on Public–Private Partnership (PPP).

During the meeting Khachatryan addressed details of the development, as well as other related documents, and discussed several organizational matters, the ministry said in a press release. The sides exchanged ideas over the PPP regulation process.

Fernandes highly appreciated the cooperation and noted that working with ministry officials in charge of the PPP legislative package was a pleasure. The team of the ministry responsible for the issue is led by Khachatryan’s deputy Avag Avanesyan.

The roadmap of the development and adoption of the legislative package was presented.

The sides affirmed that it is necessary to complete the process as soon as possible – during the coming months.

The ADB delegation also discussed issues concerning training of experts and development of skills, recommending a number of options. They agreed to continue closely cooperating.

Armenia’s economic activity rate increased by 5.8% in 2018
/Jan 31/

YEREVAN – According to the main macro-economic indicators released by the National Statistical Committee, Armenia’s economic activity rate in January-December 2018 increased by 5.8% compared to January-December 2017. The economic activity rate increased by 6.4% in December 2018 compared to December 2017, reports Armenpress.

Decline was registered in the gross agricultural output volume.

According to the January-December 2018 indicators, the growth in the construction sector comprised 4.5%. The electricity production volume increased by 0.2% compared to the same period of 2017.

The services volume (trade excluded) increased by 18.8%.

The gross agricultural output volume declined by 7.6%.

The consumer price index increased by 2.5%, and that of the industrial production prices – by 1.6%.

The trade turnover increased by 8.7%. The industrial production volume recorded an increase of 4.3% compared to January-December 2017. The average monthly nominal wage increased by 3.8% (172.357 drams).

External trade turnover volumes increased by 16.4% in January-December 2018 compared to January-December 2017. Moreover, the export grew by 7.8%, and the import – by 21.1%.