“Let us try investing money the way it could generate added value” - PM meets with Armenian businessmen in St. Petersburg
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan arrived in St. Petersburg on a working visit. The Head of Government met with a large group of Armenian business people from the north-western region of Russia.
“I want to invite all entrepreneurs to Armenia to carry out economic activities. All the obstacles that existed before were removed, they are no more. It is important to note the following: corruption was the most important of these obstacles and, in spite of the fact that on the whole, they say, there is no corruption in Armenia any more, but its residual effect is evident. I can assure you that an active struggle against corruption is underway and will be continued,” Nikol Pashinyan said, adding that the fight against corruption has to do with the activities of some companies, and for his government it is important that this fight could not be seen and commented on as a campaign against business.
“It is crucial for us to make it clear that business in general cannot the target of our struggle. We guarantee the safety of investments. By stating this, not only do we mean that no government agency can pulverize investments, but also imply that no one can seize part of your business, we exclude such phenomena,” the Prime Minister emphasized.
Nikol Pashinyan stressed that the Government has only one condition in the matter of investment: it expects that business activity will be legal. According to the Prime Minister, the State is interested in creating new jobs and increasing government revenues. “A week after I was elected Prime Minister, I officially stated at a meeting with the business circles that from now on business is freed from corruption-related liabilities. And in this regard, I rule out any attempt to interfere with the activities of business entities at the local level,” Nikol Pashinyan assured.
Touching upon the Diaspora’s new role, the Head of Government noted that since late 1980s the Diaspora has been sending in large amounts of money in the form of charity, which was valuable and vital to Armenia. The Premier expressed gratitude on behalf of the people and the State of Armenia, adding that it is necessary to make sure that the money so donated is invested in economic activity.
“We want to create the opportunity for you to come and conduct business in Armenia, make profit and benefit the people and the state. We want you to earn money in Armenia, our goal is to make opportunities to make money in Armenia as wide as possible, rather than being content with a narrow circle. The entrepreneurial field should be accessible to many, and we can provide it today. We hear opinions that the business took a break and waits for the upcoming elections. I want to emphasize that the changes that took place in Armenia are irreversible; only a government relying on the logic of revolutionary values can be functional in Armenia. There will be no counter-revolution in Armenia, and I consider myself to be the guarantor of this. Time is precious, and I do not want to lose it.” Nikol Pashinyan did not rule out that there might be some problems associated with the applicable laws.
He said that the Government is working on the Tax Code reform in a bid to make that field fair and well-streamlined. Touching upon his government’s economic priorities, the Prime Minister stressed that the development of high technologies is one of them.
“Our common priority is to turn Armenia into a country of high technology; our goal is to promote the high-tech industry. Today, for example, the production of solar panels has proved to be of great interest. We will do our best to build such plants.
The second priority, which is at the research stage, is the diamond industry, the processing of diamonds, which was once very developed in Armenia. Now we are studying what opportunities exist. The next priority is agriculture. For us, a new perception of this area is very important: the creation of greenhouse farms, intensive gardens, the production of anti-hail networks is of great importance. Of great importance is also the development of export-oriented industries.
The next direction is tourism and the development of related industries. In this case, the main attention should be paid to the environmental sector of Armenia: ensuring an environmentally friendly environment and food is very important in the context of Armenia becoming a tourist center,” the Prime Minister said.
Nikol Pashinyan added that the Armenian government does not offer anyone to transfer its capital to Armenia. “Try with a safe for you any threshold. Let us try investing money the way it could generate added value. We must change the logic of charity. The glorification of charity should be replaced by the glorification of labor,” the Prime Minister said.
Nikol Pashinyan expressed his confidence that the Armenian government has no reasons for failure. “There will be no failure: success will come after success. Today Armenia has strong positions in foreign policy, in the internal policy of the government there is absolute confidence of the people, which we necessarily realize. I guarantee that the Prime Minister of Armenia is not involved and will not be involved in any corruption deal, we will provide equal conditions for everyone, and your choice is to take advantage of this or not,” Pashinyan said.
The Prime Minister also touched upon problems in the energy sector, which had to do with the effectiveness of credit programs, tariffs, and the activities of gas filling stations. During the meeting, the Prime Minister answered a number of questions of entrepreneurs that concerned the development of energy, agriculture, infrastructures and other spheres, created conditions, the possibility of creating an investment fund, etc.
The entrepreneurs stressed that they intended to implement various investment projects in Armenia, and added that the changes that occurred in their homeland had revived great hopes in the Diaspora. They wished Nikol Pashinyan’s government every success for the sake of our people’s prosperity.