Macroeconomy

 

Former and present ruling parties to receive financial assistance from Armenian government
/Feb 21/ARKA/

YEREVAN – The Armenian government decided Thursday at its regular meeting to provide financial assistance to the parties which crossed the 3-percent benchmark in the parliamentary elections conducted in December. 
The government will do it in accordance with the law on parties. In total, the assistance amounts to AMD 103.7 million, which is distributed among five parties and blocks, depending on the number of votes they have scored. 
So, My Step bloc will receive AMD 78 million, Prosperous Armenia AMD 9.1 million and Bright Armenia AMD 7 million. 
The parties which have failed to obtain seats in the National Assembly but crossed the 3-percent benchmark in the election will receive compensations. In particular, the Republican Party of Armenia, former ruling party, will have AMD 5.2 million and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation/ Dashnaktsutiun AMD 4.3 million. (USD 1 – AMD 487.5).


Ex-president’s brother returns another 11.5 million USD to the state – criminal case still in process at NSS Armenia
Feb 21/ArmenPress.am/ 

YEREVAN – Alexander Sargsyan, former MP, brother of ex-president Serzh Sargsyan, has paid 11.5 million USD to the state as a compensation for tax evasion, abuses. Earlier, he transfered18.5 million USD to the state, NSS Director Artur Vanetsyan told the reporters.

Vanetsyan added that the criminal case is still in process and there will be new information about Alexander Sargsyan’s possessions.
 

Armenian Government discusses unemployment issues
/Feb 22/News.am/

YEREVAN – Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan has chaired a meeting on Friday 22 with Cabinet members regarding the Work Armenia campaign.

Avinyan told the ministers that one of the main challenges in Armenia today is the high unemployment rate, which is possible to overcome only through an employment policy based on fact analysis and development and implementation of an action plan with clear targets, the Deputy PM’s office said in a read-out of the meeting.

According to Avinyan, encouraging employment is the cornerstone of the government’s action plan. At the same time, the causes of unemployment have been greatly discussed recently, but nevertheless a comprehensive study with figures is still lacking.

The Deputy PM said that si

nce employment policy requires coordinated actions, that will rule out repetition and inefficiency, therefore Avinyan suggested to merge employment encouragement steps within the framework of the Work Armenia campaign.

An inter-agency group is planned to be created to coordinate the work, and the campaign will be kicked off in May.

The campaign is set to become a “roof” for short-term and long-term reforms, preparing citizens for future work
 

Level playing field, administrative simplification – minister presents measures aimed at improving business environment in Armenia
/Feb 23/ArmenPress.am/

YEREVAN – Armenia ensures equal opportunities for all investors, Minister of Economic Development and Investments of Armenia Tigran Khachatryan told the reporters in Vanadzor that the states ensures level playing field for business by all means and fosters the improvment of the business environment.

‘We have set a task to do so that all the rules are simple – equal for all, without any artificial obstacles for business. It’s very important that this message reaches the wide range of the society. Our tax rates today are not an obstacle for business, but I want to underline that new changes are expected that will ensure more favorable conditions, particularly, exempting micro business from taxes, decrease of income tax. The implementation of the mentioned measures means that making investments in Armenia will become more attractive’, ARMENPRESS reports the minister as saying. He added that the state spares no efforts to ensure level playing field, eliminate corruption, liberalization of the market, administrative simplification.

Tigran Khachatryan highlighted the investment conference ‘My step for Lori’, noting that it’s a platform where Cabinet members, people with business ideas and those wishing to fund them meet.

‘Don’t doubt, if there are good ideas and they are realistic, funding will be found. Finances are the most available thing in the world nowadays. There is no problem of money, there is the problem of ideas and initiatives’, the minister said.

Minister Khachatryan informed that 50 business projects are planned to be presented during the conference.


Parliament extends law that allowed 9,800 citizens to avoid criminal prosecution for dodging compulsory military service
/Feb 25/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Some 9,800 citizens of Armenia over the age of 27 have avoided criminal prosecution since 2003 due to a law that allows male citizens who have dodged compulsory military service for years to buy amnesty. 
Andranik Kocharyan, the head of a National Assembly Committee on Defense and Security Issues, told reporters today that the Committee endorsed a motion of the Bright Armenia party to again extend the validity of the law until March 1, 2019. 
The law first passed in 2004 enables draft dodgers aged 27 and older to avoid criminal prosecution in return for a fee depending on the number of years spent on the run. According to Kocharyan, the dodgers   in 2017 paid about 729 million drams.
Kocharyan said the annual extension of the law allows some citizens to find legislative loopholes and evade the compulsory military service. He said after paying the fee they can return to their homeland, which not only undermines the defense capability of the country, but also causes social inequality.
Kocharyan said it is necessary to create such conditions which would make dodging compulsory military service impossible, and the service in the armed forces honorable. In his words, today some 10 thousand Armenian males who dodged their military service are wanted by Armenian law-enforcement bodies.
He argued that this legislation in fact, amnesties the dodgers who are on the wanted list, and who set an example for those who want to evade military service. 
The maximum fine for the crime is 3 million 600 thousand drams (about $7,300).
 

Արտահանումը նվազել է 15.8%-ով, բայց տնտեսական ակտիվությունն աճել է 6.1%-ով
/Feb 25/Verelq.am/

ՀՀ ազգային վիճակագրական կոմիտեն ներկայացրել է երկրի սոցիալ-տնտեսական վիճակը բնութագրող ընթացիկ-օպերատիվ ամփոփմամբ ստացված նախնական հիմնական մակրոտնտեսական ցուցանիշները : 2019թ. հունվարի ցուցանիշներով շինարարության ոլորտում աճը կազմել է 22.1 տոկոս: Էլեկտրաէներգիայի արտադրության ցուցանիշը 26.3 տոկոսով նվազել է նախորդ տարվա նույն ժամանակահատվածի համեմատ: Ծառայությունների ծավալն (առանց առևտրի) աճել է 15.6 տոկոսով:

Սպառողական գների ինդեքսն ավելացել է 0.6 տոկոսով, իսկ արդյունաբերական արտադրանքի գների ինդեքսը նվազել է 2.6 տոկոսով :

Առեւտրի շրջանառությունն ավելացել է 19.3 տոկոսով : Արդյունաբերական արտադրանքի ծավալը 0.4 տոկոսով պակաս է 2018-ի հունվարի համեմատ : Միջին ամսական անվանական աշխատավարձն աճել է 4.1 տոկոսով (172 հազար 198 դրամ): Պետական հատվածում միջին ամսական անվանական աշխատավարձը կազմել է 149 399 դրամ, նախորդ տարվա համեմատ աճելով 6.5 տոկոսով, իսկ մասնավոր հատվածում կազմել է 184 հազար 646 դրամ` աճելով 1.8 տոկոսով :

Արտաքին ապրանքաշրջանառության ծավալները 2019-ի հունվարին նախորդ տարվա նույն ժամանակահատվածի համեմատ նվազել են 7.6 տոկոսով, ընդ որում` արտահանումը նվազել է 15.8 տոկոսով, իսկ ներմուծումը` 3.3 տոկոսով : Դրամի փոխարժեքն ԱՄՆ դոլարի նկատմամբ 2019-ի հունվարին եղել է 485.79:

ԱՎԿ-ն տեղեկացնում է, որ այսուհետ գյուղատնտեսության և ձկնորսության ոլորտի ցուցանիշը հրապարակվելու է միայն եռամսյակային պարբերականությամբ՝ պայմանավորված գյուղատնտեսական արտադրանքի արտադրության սեզոնայնությամբ և բնակլիմայական ոչ կայուն պայմաններից կախված ամսական արտադրության տատանողականության համահարթեցման անհրաժեշտությամբ : Սույն մոտեցումը կիրառվում է միջազգային վիճակագրական պրակտիկայում :
 

Armenia’s economic activity index grows 6,1% in January
/Feb 25/ArmenPress.am/

YEREVAN – Armenia’s economic activity index grew 6,1 % in January 2019 against the previous year’s same month, according to the national statistical committee.

Construction growth was 22,1%.

Electric-energy production dropped 26,3%, while service volume (excluding trade) grew 15,6%.

Consumer price index increased 0,6%, while the industrial product price index dropped 2,6%.

Trade turnover grew 19,3%.

The industrial output volume is 0,4% lower against the 2018 January indicator.

The average monthly nominal wage grew 4,1% (172,198 AMD). The average monthly nominal wage in the public sector grew 6,5%, amounting 149,399 AMD. In the private sector, it grew 1,8%, totaling 184,646 AMD.

Foreign trade turnover volumes dropped 7,6% in the reporting period (15,8% drop in exports and 3,3% drop in imports).
 

IMF ready to discuss possibilities of assisting implementation of reforms in spheres mentioned by PM Pashinyan
/Feb 25/ArmenPress.am/

YEREVAN – Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan received on February 25 the Executive Director at International Monetary Fund Richard Doornbosch.

As ARMENPRESS was informed from the press service of the Office of the Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan noted that the Government of Armenia attaches importance to continuous cooperation with the IMF and is interested in further deepening of constructive partnership.

According to the IMF Executive Director, Armenia is a reliable partner for IMF and the IMF is ready to provide assistance to the Government of Armenia in order to succeed in implementing the reforms initiated in different directions.

The interlocutors discussed prospects for expanding and developing cooperation.

PM Pashinyan referred to the reform agenda of the Government of Armenia, speaking about high technology promotion in the structure of the economy, reform of the Tax Code, creation of micro business, facilitation of business environment, reform of public administration and education systems, and activities under anti-corruption policy.

Nikol Pashinyan noted that by the change of the structure of the economy and promoting the use of high technologies in various sectors, the government aims at positioning Armenia as a technological country and taking into account the huge potential in the IT sphere, to form an export-oriented economy. According to the Prime Minister, the government’s task is to create opportunities in Armenia and to stimulate entrepreneurship so that everyone can realize their potential and contribute to the country’s development.

Emphasizing the need for institutional and expert capacities for the success of reforms, the head of the government highlighted the relevant assistance of international partner institutions, including the IMF.

Richard Doornbosch noted that the IMF is ready to discuss the possibilities of assisting the implementation of reforms in the areas mentioned by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

Reaffirming the willingness of the cooperation, Prime Minister Pashinyan suggested discussing concrete steps will relevant state bodies.
 

Armenia, Iran trade turnover reached record high in 2018
/Feb 25/ArmenPress.am/

YEREVAN – Armenia-Iran trade turnover reached 364 million USD in 2018, which is an unprecedented number since 1991.

ARMENPRESS reports IRNA agency informs that last year Iranian exports to Armenia amounted to 296 million USD.

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan plans to visit Iran on February 27, which will be his first visit to that country.
 

IMF predicts 4.5% economic growth for Armenia – the predictions of previous 2 years were below real growth
/Feb 26/ArmenPress.am/

YEREVAN – The IMF predicts 4.5% economic growth for Armenia in 2019. The impact of the external environment was also an important factor for the prediction, ARMENPRESS reports Head of International Monetary Fund Armenia Mission Hossein Samiei said in a press conference.

“We have predicted 4.5% growth for Armenia’s economy in 2019. This prediction is based on 3-4 factors. The first of them is the potential for growth, or the so-called the potential growth that reflects the capacity of the economy for growth. In our opinion, it’s 4.5% in Armenia”, the Head of the Armenia Mission said.

According to him, the second factor is that the impact of the external environment can be quite serious for small open economies. According to the IMF, this year the external environment will be less favorable this year. “It will be mainly conditioned by the copper price and remittances that have quite an important role in the economic growth of Armenia”, Hossein Samiei said.

He noted that Armenia’s economic growth in 2017 was significantly higher compared to the prediction of the potential growth of the IMF. In 2018 it was higher as well.
 

Armenia takes soft drinks under excise tax
/Feb 28/ArmenPress.am/

YEREVAN – The Armenian government wants to introduce an excise tax on all types of soft drinks.

According to officials, the additional tax collection will to some extent solve the budget loss problem that will be caused by the reduction of revenue tax rates and other reforms. Officials also argue that the move will also have a positive healthcare impact.

Deputy Minister of Finance Arman Poghosyan told ARMENPRESS they first considered introducing the excise tax only on soft drinks that contain 5g or more sugar per 100gram of the ingredient.

“Our initial recommendation was this, it was later revised. Now, an amended bill suggests an excise tax on all carbonated beverages, excluding mineral [soda] water and alcoholic drinks, regardless of sugar level. Our observations showed that tax administration based on sugar level can be accompanied by certain difficulties because the labels of the drinks rarely include sugar level, while carbonation is a more visible and more controllable element and tax administration can be implemented more effectively,” he said.

Asked to elaborate on the goals of the bill, Poghosyan says on one hand its purpose is to provide additional tax revenue, and on the other hand it will limit ‘harmful consumption’. The deputy finance minister says carbonated drinks and beverages with high sugar levels are bad for health.

According to Poghosyan, they conducted detailed discussions with the healthcare ministry and the World Health Organization while drafting the bill. He said they suggest having a fixed excise tax rate for all excisable soft drinks.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the excise tax will impact the market prices of soft drinks in Armenia.

The government is also currently developing a new tax code.  

Timeframes of commencing the new initiative weren’t immediately clear.

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