Domestic visits

Today, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan traveled to Tavush Marz of Armenia

10.08.2018 - 11.08.2018

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Today, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan traveled to Tavush Marz of Armenia. The Head of Government held meetings with the residents of Berd, Aygehovit, Voskepar and Noyemberyan, during which he touched upon the problems and the Government’s steps to solve them. The Premier answered a number of questions of interest to the local population.

“I am glad to see you smiling; it is the most important thing. I have come to tell you why I am sure that our country’s all problems will be solved; why am I sure that our country will be happy, free and powerful. We have found the key to solving all the issues.

What is that key? You know, for over 20 years, the people in Armenia wanted political changes, but changes did not take place. The year 2018 came in, and we had the change. We have solved a problem that used to be deemed as unsolvable for the past 23-24 years. Why did this problem go unaddressed for more than 20 years, and what caused it to be solved? During the past 20-24 years, the leader of the opposition was supposed to make political changes, but every time the power changed in the country and an opposition leader came to power, the citizens of Armenia were disappointed by that leader. The change came when the majority of Armenian citizens and the Armenian people realized that the revolution should be done not by one leader but by the people themselves so that each one should consider himself a leader of the revolution,” Nikol Pashinyan said, noting that he said it not in a bid to assess the past three months’ events, but to show everyone the key to resolving the country’s problems.

“You may have noticed that I have never said that that my political team and I were going to do a revolution. I have said we will create the opportunity for people to decide whether they wanted to live in the old Armenia or in a new Armenia.

Why are we living in this new Armenia? Not for my political team has decided so, but because you have decided to. You have come to realize that it is up to you to decide everything. No one should doubt that the Government will do its job fully and positively, but it is important that each of us perceive that he himself decides everything.

Our team is just providing the opportunity for people to make their homeland thrive. We will have a truly powerful State only when each of us does what he is supposed to; when each of us can understand that if our country is in a poor condition, then it may have been the fault of every one of us. I am convinced that we should continue to do the work that we have started together,” the Prime Minister said.

Nikol Pashinyan assured that the Government will do its best to create favorable conditions for our compatriots abroad. He called on them to come to the homeland and develop the country.

“I am convinced that many people are getting money from their friends abroad, but I would like to make it clear that the philosophy of charity has to be changed. People are sending in millions of dollars to help their friends in Armenia. They used to do so as they believed that it was not safe to do business in Armenia. I am now stating that the old Armenia does not exist any more; I guarantee that no one can create a threat to any investor. We guarantee the security of investments; we guarantee that no one can “come in;” we guarantee that any businessman is free to operate within the legal framework. Therefore, there is no need to wait,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

The Prime Minister urged everyone to substitute the philosophy of charity with the logic of work because Armenians are hard-working people. “I know that today’s opportunities are limited, there are many problems that still go unaddressed, but I want to ask you to get rid of pessimism; do not trust anyone who may say that we will never succeed, and that we are doomed to failure. Be assured, everything is right and true, what you see is a reality. The reality is that you have won, and the reality is that you will win, and the reality is that you should live in your homeland as proud, dignified and happy citizens,” the Premier said.

At the same time, the Head of Government noticed that emigration has stopped in Armenia since May. “Each month since this May, more people have been coming to Armenia than leaving it. Let us not only keep up this pace, but double and triple it. We have no place to go from our homeland, and we have to repatriate those who have left because there is no better place in the world than the Republic of Armenia. The Republic of Armenia is the place where people are free, proud, dignified and happy,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

Speaking about his government’s 100-day activity, the Prime Minister pointed out that a fierce struggle against corruption started during that period, and which is to be continued. Nikol Pashinyan stressed that in a short period of time, electricity and gas tariffs dropped for vulnerable households. Prices for a number of goods decreased owing to the fight against monopolies. The amended funded pension system resulted in higher wages for 207,000 citizens of Armenia. All fines and penalties for agricultural loans were remitted, interest rates for mortgage loans went down, and so on.

“A 9.6% economic activity index was stated in June, but people do not yet feel its impact. Our task is to change the model of growth so that the citizens of Armenia could benefit from its results,” the Prime Minister emphasized.

Nikol Pashinyan next met with the leaders of Berd and Noyemberyan regions. Addressing them, the Head of Government noted that the logic of relief should be replaced by the logic of joint work.

“The Government is set to do more than in the past. Today, we have some 10-15 billion drams that we are going to earmark as a subvention to co-finance various programs, but the communities are not prepared to spend those funds because they do not have their own money, or specific programs. Our communities are obviously short of money, but two questions nay arise here. First, we should ask ourselves whether the existing resources are spent efficiently, and whether the budgets are formed in a fair and objective manner. If we want the budget to grow, we should spend it equitably. We will not tolerate looting, and I call for constructive work,” Nikol Pashinyan said, noting that what he said primarily refers to the Prime Minister himself. At the same time, the Premier pointed out that the Government is now discussing the possibility of investing the above-mentioned funds without distributing funds in different community financial projects, taking into account their poor efficiency.

The community leaders raised various problems related to road construction, inter-community transport, community enlargement, and other burning issues. Issues related to the government’s personnel policy, road safety, agricultural subsidies, cultural activity, public sector optimization, increased public revenue and investment were discussed during the meetings.

The Head of Government was briefed on the gasification program in Voskepar village as implemented with funds donated by a local philanthropist. Thanking him for valuable contribution, Nikol Pashinyan urged him to switch over from the philosophy of charity to that of work and, in that context, suggested considering the possibility of implementing projects aimed at creating new jobs in the community.

* * *

In the frame of his visit to Tavush Marz, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called at the Berd subsidiary of Tavush Textile Company.

Accompanied by the Company’s top executives, the Premier toured the facility to get acquainted with the production of working gloves. He was told that 520 people are currently employed at Tavush Textile’s local workshops with an average salary of 145,000 drams. The Company exported AMD 2 billion-worth output to Russia and Georgia last year. The exports are supposed to increase by 40-50% this year. Steps are being taken to extend the geographical coverage of exports.

Tavush Textile has invested about 10 million dollars since 2015. As a result of a 1 million dollar investment, the number of machine tools has been increased by 600 that will augment the number of jobs by 150-200. Overall, the Company is going to provide 1000-1500 new jobs over the next few years.

Nikol Pashinyan next visited a livestock farm established with funds available from Himnatavush Development Foundation in Lusadzor community. It has a high milk yield of 200 cows. Various types of French cheese are produced there. Most of the output is exported to Russia. The Company representatives advised that 800,000 euros are annually invested in the farm. At the same time, they noted that milk and forage are being purchased from neighboring farms.

Prime Minister Pashinyan attached importance to the development of light industry and farms in Tavush province, stressing that the Government is prepared to possibly support the development and expansion of business programs in the Marz. Highlighting the imperative of having ecologically clean food products produced in our country, the Premier said Armenia should boast an image of eco country in the international arena. Nikol Pashinyan expressed the hope that the aforementioned companies will soon reach industrial levels to generate new jobs.

* * *

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s visit to Tavush Marz continues. The Head of Government had meetings with residents of Idjevan, Haghartsin and Dilijan, presented his government’s steps in sectors and answered a number of questions.

The Premier noted that henceforth the role of an Armenian citizen will be decisive in the economic development of our country. “I am sure that henceforth the citizens will not put up with defeats, illegalities, will eye the future with optimism and will not act as petitioners. The citizen of the Republic of Armenia will be a plaintiff but not vulnerable; they will work harder to create goods.

One of the most important priorities of our government is to overcome poverty, which is a problem that our country is spoiling for a long time. What should we do to curb poverty? I came to this conclusion and thought that this phenomenon could be conditionally called the “Aygehovit syndrome.” What do I mean? Yesterday, as we went to Aighehovit and talked to the locals, it turned out to be such a situation. First of all, people talked about jobs, but it turned out that the owner of the bakery was looking for two workers with a salary of 100,000 drams and could not find them. This situation, I think, reveals one of the deepest issues in our country. People say if we get a job, we will be deprived of social benefits,” Nikol Pashinyan said. According to him, this phenomenon is a result of a long-term policy, when poverty and benefits used to be more preferable than work and earnings.

“The point is that we had a government in Armenia that wanted people to be poor in order the buy their votes during elections. Today’s government will not help people to be poor, on the contrary, we will help them get richer; we will encourage people to work because the Armenians are not lazy beggars, they are hard-working people,” the Prime Minister emphasized.

Nikol Pashinyan said that changes had occurred as a result of work in our country, since there were people who wanted to make an effort in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the nation. “I want to send this message to all the citizens of Armenia. The poverty-conducive policy should be banned in Armenia; we need to encourage work, create opportunities so that people could overcome their poverty and despair,” the Prime Minister said. According to him, the change of reality is an important mission of the Government of Armenia, but it is first necessary to change the perception of reality.

“How can the reality be changed: with the efforts of individuals? All of you know that Yenokavan village has traditionally been one of the smallest, most vulnerable infrastructural villages in Idjevan region. But with the help of a person or group of people, Yenokavan has become one of the fastest growing settlements in the region where the population is growing, and the cost of housing is up. I mean what is happening here is first of all due to people’s work.

We must change in our perceptions: we should not be jealous of others’ success, but be inspired and encouraged. I want to encourage you to work ever harder; each of us should think of what he can do to improve his or her family’s welfare. The government should support those who are thinking of developing more and more jobs. This is our understanding of the economic development,” Nikol Pashinyan said, adding that the State should provide the working man with as many resources as possible, including roads, drinking water, irrigation water, efficient electricity tariffs, reducing water losses and so on.

“This policy should be further promoted so that hopefulness grows. We need to encourage people not to seek poverty benefits, but prosperity and wealth. Our heroes should be those who earn the result of their sweat without a monopoly and create jobs. Our message is as follows: the Government will provide the necessary conditions for people to get richer and enrich our country; we want all our citizens to be wealthy and prosperous. Our government’s mission and my own commitment are as follows: not to enrich ourselves, but to help people get richer. We will not rob our country, but we will not succeed if you fail to catch the robbers. No one should be welcome in Armenia who steals from the people,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

Nikol Pashinyan also participated in the celebration dedicated to Haghartsin’s 200th anniversary. The Prime Minister congratulated the Haghartsin residents on the jubilee and expressed the hope that it would open up a new chapter in Haghartsin’s public life just as a new page was turned Armenia’s history in 2018.

“In New Armenia, we must perceive each other in a new way, we must perceive new opportunities, believe in our new strengths. We must strive for new victories after each victory. It is time to show that without cutting a forest you can get more profits. I am urging you to turn off the saws and connect your mind, creativity ideas and work toward new opportunities. Haghartsin should become a pioneer in the new Armenia,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

The Prime Minister advised that a new USD 140,000-worth grant project will be implemented in Haghartsin, which will support those the citizens who will submit realistic and innovative business plans, including on tourism and environmental issues.

The community head was told to get in touch with Haghartsin residents abroad and invite them to invest in their native village with a view to creating new jobs and earn money.

Nikol Pashinyan next met with community heads from Idjevan and Dilijan regions and discussed with them development prospects and opportunities. Reference was also made to the enlargement of communities, infrastructure development, road construction, transport and logistics. Dilijan National Park and environmental protection issues were discussed. Nikol Pashinyan underscored that the Government will show special attitude towards those communities that will present employment-enhancing programs.

* * *

As part of his trip to Tavush Marz of Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the Idjevan wine and brandy factory on August 11. Accompanied by the company’s top executives, the Premier toured the factory to get familiar with the production process and development programs.

It was reported that the factory produces brandy, wine, vodka and canned food. The output is being exported to Russian, Chinese, Canadian and European markets. Efforts are underway to expand the geographical coverage of exports. It was also noted that the procurements are carried out from the communities adjacent to Idjevan. Last year, the plant produced 1.5 million bottles of brandy, wine and vodka, 140,000 units of canned products. Steps are being taken to implement new investments and increase the current number of 100 jobs.

The Head of Government next visited the newly-built Lastiver hotel complex in Yenokavan. The Premier got acquainted with the recreational amenities. Construction work was said to have lasted for three years with USD 2 million-worth investments.

Then the Prime Minister was hosted in the Dilijan beer factory. Nikol Pashinyan was informed that the plant started its activities a year ago with an investment of USD 5 million. The factory employs 120 people, with an average salary of 90,000 drams. It was noted that part of the output is marketed locally, and the balance is exported to Russia. The factory’s managers are going to expand the production capacity that will lead to 40-60 new jobs.

Prime Minister Pashinyan emphasized that the Government is eager to develop business activity in the country and implement extensive. As the Head of Government said, the Executive will encourage manufacturing companies to achieve further progress in order to generate new jobs and pay taxes. According to Nikol Pashinyan, from now on, everyone is free from corruption and should only think about development. At the same time, the Head of Government stressed the importance of consistent steps to increase the competitiveness of Armenian products and, in this connection, expressed confidence that it will contribute to the increase of export volumes from our country.

The Premier next called at Tavush medical center in Dilijan. He was told that it is equipped with modern equipment and there are high-quality medical services that allow citizens not to travel to Yerevan for treatment. The pricing policy is another incentive for this. It was also noted that the residents of Sevan, Idjevan, Vanadzor and other neighboring communities can benefit from the Center’s services.

The Premier attached importance to the presence of such medical institutions in the provinces, emphasizing that the healthcare sector will be in the focus of his government. At the same time, the Prime Minister prioritized the introduction of the health insurance system and the steps taken in that direction.

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