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“We need to provide job incentives as a means for curbing poverty” - PM Addresses Light Industry Development Prospects


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Today, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received light industry representatives, particularly from the companies operating in the field of clothing, footwear and leather production to discuss the challenges and prospects for the development of this sector.

Welcoming the participants, Prime Minister Pashinyan stated in part, “Light industry holds a central position in the vision of our economic progress, particularly in terms of textile industry and clothing, as well as the production of footwear and leather goods. With this meeting and the dialogue to follow, we want to see your vision of cooperation between the government and the industry. What should we do to ensure that our relations grow into cooperative ties, since I think that we should be able to formulate common goals and contribute to the achievement of these goals? What is the logic we want to push forward in Armenia?

We want work and employment to be highly appreciated and glorified in the Republic of Armenia. I think that for many years poverty used to be encouraged in the Republic of Armenia and the opportunity to work was limited. Now we have to put some other logic behind our actions and we will encourage work as a means and way to overcoming poverty.

Naturally, in this regard, we attach great importance to the opening of new jobs and the maintenance of existing jobs. We attach great importance to the creation of an environment where people with business skills might have the opportunity to tap their potential, without any manmade restrictions, be responsible for their organizational and business abilities and work on a level ground and in the legal field.

I attach great importance to having permanent communication between the government and industry, so that each one of you would be heard in the context of the problem discussion, so that you could voice your concerns, considering that you all were going to work in equal conditions and in an equal field.

The position and approach of our government is as follows: shortly after I was elected to the office of Prime Minister, I realized the need to address the following message to the business circles: any business, any businessman, any company is free from any corruption obligation. In other words, business entities cannot have corruption obligations or liabilities, and I consider myself as the guarantor of this condition.

So, what is our interest in our relationship with the field so that you can do your best to make as many jobs as you can, and pay as much taxes as possible to the state budget, but to have such an environment that will give an opportunity for further growth and development?

Conventionally, we can address the following message to the business community: “Get richer and enrich the State, people, everyone working in an equal field.”

The representatives of light industry enterprises raised issues related to provision of tax privileges, import customs clearance conditions, training of specialists, promotion of local production and export, increase of production volumes and creation of new workplaces.

Touching upon tax privileges, the Head of Government stated in part, “We are interested in developing the industry and making progress, paying taxes, creating new jobs, raising wages, and we will do everything possible for it. But we should also state that we all have a duty in terms of budget revenues. We do not consider any proposal to be rejected, but everything needs to be looked at in balance. We must find the right balance so that there is a tax burden that at least does not impede the normal development of the enterprises, and secondly, we have the opportunity to keep the infrastructures in working condition so that roads can be repaired, for example. "

The Prime Minister emphasized that any proposal would not be ignored without discussion or rejection. In the context of training specialists and meeting the current labor market demand, the Head of Government emphasized the importance of strengthening vocational institutions and vocational schools.

The Premier noted that there are vocational schools that stand idle for staffing, funding and technical reasons and that he has already instructed the Minister of Education and Science to submit a program for their development and funnel financial resources to that effect.

Prime Minister Pashinyan attached special importance to the promotion of local production and the increase in the consumption of local products, noting that he also enjoys local quality products.

“Supporting domestic producers is one of our government’s priorities, and I am trying to boost the local production capacity. It is necessary to foster a relevant consumer culture and advertise local products. At the same time, considering that the home market is not that large, we need to develop export promotion activities and policies,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

The meeting next touched upon the establishment of a light industry association. The sector representatives in attendance advised that the process is on, and we will soon have an association to represent the industry.

The Prime Minister welcomed the idea, pointing out that the association will create an effective platform for cooperation, which in turn will facilitate the government’s interaction with enterprises.

Summarizing the meeting, Prime Minister Pashinyan said: “We want to do everything possible to promote production in Armenia; textile, light industry and shoe production are among our priorities. I would like to see a qualitative change in government-producer relations so that the government would not be seen as a tax-scraper, and the business people – as tax evaders.

Indeed, we need partnership, and there is to be such an atmosphere in which taxpayers should be convinced that no contribution to the budget is misused or pulverized, but is actually spent effectively on infrastructure and regular activities to ensure that you also need to work. In other words, all we want is to get the taxpayers to realize that they are investing in their own venture and activity. I would like to wish us all every success on the way to making of Armenia a prosperous and poverty-free country and a competitive economy.”

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