Communities, businesses, the government and taxpayers should act as partners” – PM inspects progress in Kotayk Marz subsidy programs
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today paid a working visit to a number of communities in Kotayk Marz of Armenia. The Premier inspected progress in the ongoing subsidy programs implemented by the Government. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan and Deputy Marz Governor Arnak Avetisyan, who is exercising the duties of Kotayk Marz Governor.
The Premier first visited Aramus community, where a new kindergarten is being built for 150 children. Arriving at the construction site, the Prime Minister was briefed on the progress in the ongoing subsidy program. The kindergarten is due to be commissioned by this October 1; the site improvement activities will be complete by the end of this year. The total coast of the state-community co-financed project is 433 million drams. The site allocated by the government covers a total area of about 1750 square meters.
Thus, Aramus community will have a modern kindergarten intended for 6 groups of children. Moreover, the project is designed in such a way that a new facility can be built to host more children, if necessary. For two years now, the community has been raising funds for the project by drawing on the proceeds of legalized irregular buildings in addition to other budget receipts.
The mayor of Aramus advised that several streets will be gasified in Aramus by the end of this month as part of another subvention program. As a result, the whole village will be gasified. Nikol Pashinyan greeted the locals who had gathered near the kindergarten. He availed himself of the opportunity to address community development issues. Evoking the subsidy programs implemented in Aramus, the Prime Minister prioritized the community’s contribution through their strict tax compliance.
“We have to pay property tax to implement more projects. We all need to understand that the property tax we pay is translated into different lifeline projects. You should elect such a mayor that will not embezzle the community budget. You must elect a government that will not steal. Pay taxes just as you invest in your households. That is why we say: “Armenia is my home, its people are my family,” Prime Minister Pashinyan said.
The Prime Minister left Aramus for Kamaris community to visit the greenhouse-intensive garden run by Rock Berry LLC, which cultivates high-quality varieties of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. The 1 km-long road leading to the greenhouse is being asphalted under the sub-community road repair subsidy program. The company was granted an import duty exemption in August, 2018 for the greenhouse project. In 2019, they received a refund of AMD 7,040,000 for their intensive orchard project, which is being implemented under the state support program.
The Premier toured the greenhouse to get acquainted with the drip irrigation system, the newly introduced state-of-the-art technology. Presenting their ongoing development programs, Rock Berry’s Director General Alexan Arakelyan said the project was launched as early as in 2018, and was put into operation in January, 2019. Part of the output has been exported since April, 2019.
The total amount of investment is 5.4 million euros. In 2019-2020, more than 95% of the strawberries produced by Rock Berry were exported to Russia, and the rest was marketed in Armenia. In May-June, 2019, the company established a one-hectare-wide intensive orchard of blackberries and raspberries, which came to be exported in September, 2019. The company executives noted that despite the epidemic, this year’s output exceeds last year’s figures.
The company has 149 employees with an average monthly pay of 150,000-200,000 drams. Rock Berry is going to establish a 6 hectare strawberry greenhouse as part of its development program. The program will be implemented in 2021-2022. The total volume of investment is 6.5 million euros, which will help generate 160 new jobs.
The Director General said the investment program has set a good example of effective operation of greenhouses in the region, as a result of which various investment projects will be implemented next year in Kamaris, including a 3-hectare pepper greenhouse (3.7 million euros, 40 jobs) and a one-hectare-wide strawberry greenhouse (1.3 million euros, 30 jobs).
Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the implementation of an effective investment program strong with modern state-of-the-art technologies. He prioritized the use of highly technological agriculture and the proposed joint efforts in that direction.
“Yesterday I was in Gegharkunik Marz. We had another example like this, we have a tripartite subsidy project over there: Kamaris community, Rock Berry LLC and the Government have joined their resources to build the community road. This is a very good example of tripartite cooperation, because after all communities, businesses, the government, and the taxpayers at both local and national level should act as partners. It is quite likely that we will be able to combine our constructive and creative interests in order to build a society based on them. I am very much enthusiastic about it,” he said.
During the tour, an exchange of views took place on training issues. The speakers pointed to the lack of well-trained specialists in the field of agriculture. The Prime Minister stressed that nowadays know-how is the most appreciated business capital. This issue was taken up of late when discussing possibilities for providing state support to businesses. According to Nikol Pashinyan, the government is taking adequate steps to reform the education system. “The traditional professions that we know will be inexistent in 50 years. Instead, we can see new professions being formed around. It is obvious that this is the future day of agriculture,” he said.
Nikol Pashinyan next visited Geghashen community, where he got acquainted with the process of subsidy programs for infrastructure construction and repair. The Premier first called at the newly built kindergarten, which is expected to open this October. Note that Geghashen has never had a kindergarten.
140 children will have the opportunity to attend the newly built pre-school institution in a community that boasts some 4350 inhabitants. The courtyard is currently being repaired; a playground is being built, and an engineering network is being provided. The project is co-funded by the state and the community at the rate of 50/50.
The Prime Minister went on to get acquainted with the activities carried out at Geghashen’s culture house and the music school. A program of gasification and heating system installation is underway in these institutions. There are song, dance and painting clubs here, there is a gym. A modern library is being built under the auspices of a local benefactor. The subsidy program is implemented with a community-state participation of 70/30%.
A total of 14 kindergartens are being built or renovated in Kotayk Marz under the running subsidy programs.