Nikol Pashinyan: “We need to develop appropriate mechanisms as soon as possible for letting farmers off paying loan fines and penalties”
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A Cabinet meeting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Before discussing the agenda items, the Prime Minister touched upon a number of burning issues.
The Premier asked Minister of Agriculture Artur Khachatryan about the volume of the hailstorm-caused damage in the provinces. The Minister of Agriculture advised that a specific financial assessment of losses will be carried out next week. Nikol Pashinyan instructed to look into the exact amount of damage with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development. The Prime Minister noted that an idea has to be formed about the reasons behind our farmers’ reluctance to use hail-proof networks.
With reference to agricultural credits, the Head of Government noted that there is a huge credit burden on farmers, exasperated by fines and penalties. “Yesterday, we had an in-depth discussion with the Chairman of the Central Bank. We have to develop these mechanisms as soon as possible so that our farmers could be exempted from fines and penalties. We also need to consider the possibility of an amnesty for credit history so that people can get loans and take measures to protect their gardens, their farms,” Nikol Pashinyan said and suggested Central Bank Chairman Arthur Javadyan take an active part in the discussions and submit concrete proposals on the matter at hand.
The Prime Minister next referred to the problem of speed monitors and cameras. “There is a huge amount of overdue fines and penalties that people have not supposedly settled for lack of financial resources. We need to think of mechanisms to forgive that debt. Second, we need to think about the efficiency of speedometers and cameras. I believe that it would be expedient to stop or suspend their activities for a specific period, if there is such a legislative opportunity, and if there is not such an opportunity, think about it. Or at least we have to stop this practice shortly - and stop it off right now – when people are fined for crossing tight lines. I have repeatedly stated that the drive for penalizing should be stopped,” Nikol Pashinyan said and instructed Justice Minister Artak Zeynalyan to develop recommendations jointly with the Police.
Nikol Pashinyan also touched upon the incidences that took place during the recent political processes. In particular, referring to the well-known incident at Heratsi Street, Nikol Pashinyan noted: “Now it turns out that a criminal case has been filed and then dropped out. I think we should put an end to this practice at all, when coming across some privileged personalities, we presume that these criminal cases should be dismissed.” The Premier emphasized that legality is at question and went on to note that he was looking forward to getting very clear messages.
“I expect that the legality of that decision will be checked. If the press reports about it are true, it seems to be obvious that the decision to stop the proceedings has nothing to do with the law,” the Prime Minister said. "Our principle is that violence in our country should be ruled out as a tool. We should stop the practice of ignoring or overlooking violence and incidences. Let us state it as a principle. No matter who is the initiator and who is the victim of violence. In other words, no matter which political team or political party is responsible. Our society should be free from violence. No case of violence should be left without investigation and legal consequences, and I think this is a very important issue.” Addressing the law enforcement authorities, the Prime Minister said that he expected concrete and quick action in that issue.
Coming to the question of service cars used in the system of public administration, Prime Minister Pashinyan addressed First Deputy Prime Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, noting that it is necessary to take stock of all service cars and the relevant costs in order to understand what cutbacks are possible. Ararat Mirzoyan noted that there is a huge amount of redundant service cars in the system of State machinery, which is a waste of budgetary expenses.
“For your information, I want to state that there were five cars assigned to the Office of First Deputy Prime Minister. Of course, we abandoned three of them; we will still discuss the expediency of keeping the two others. Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan refused to use two of the four service cars. I suggest the other ministers reconsider the applicable approaches as regards the stock of service cars,” the First Deputy Prime Minister said.
Minister of Education and Science Araik Harutyunyan called the Government’s attention on business trips.
“We need to take note of or even collaborate with the ministries in order to examine the question of business trips because my studies have shown that sometimes they are turning into tourist tours,” the minister said.
The Government decided to relieve Vardan Harutyunyan from the post of Chairman of State Revenue Committee by the Government of the Republic of Armenia. David Ananyan was appointed to serve as SRC Chairman.
The meeting adopted a decision “On appointing Head of RA Statistics Committee and members of RA State Statistics Board.” Accordingly, Stepan Mnatsakanyan was appointed Head of RA Statistics Committee; Gagik Ananyan, Gagik Gevorgyan, Nelli Baghdasaryan, Vanush Davtyan and Lilit Petrosyan were appointed to be members of RA State Statistics Board for a six-year term.
“We have to do a serious work in order to increase the level of credibility of the Statistics Committee and the official statistics in Armenia, in general, because this is a very important issue. The applicable laws and logic, in general, suggest that statistics should not be influenced by political considerations, and our government intends to solve this problem,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
At the end of the meeting, Prime Minister Pashinyan touched upon the rumors running among the trade centers’ operators, which say that the Government and the Ministry of Emergency Situations have decided that stall owners should buy and install fire extinguishers.
“Of course, it is difficult to understand where those rumors come from, but I want to assure you that the level of fire safety should be enhanced in commercial centers. Nevertheless, this does imply at all any extra expenses for individual entrepreneurs. We are not going to make people buy fire extinguishers,” the Premier said.