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Nikol Pashinyan: “The change in economic behavior is the key to Armenia’s economic development”


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A Cabinet meeting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Prior to the discussion of the agenda, the Premier touched upon the government’s upcoming steps and gave relevant instructions.

The Government amended the decision of December 18, 2014, which defines the amount of compensation for welfare assistance to residents of border communities, the procedure to follow in providing such compensation and the list of eligible communities.

The reference note says that under the 2019 State budget law, AMD 928,871.2 thousand shall be made available to border communities as partial compensation for the cost of natural gas, electricity, irrigation water fees, property and land tax.

Nikol Pashinyan asked about the status of ongoing preparations for the irrigation season. Minister of Territorial Administration and Development Suren Papikyan said efforts are underway to that end, and everything will be done to supply irrigation water to farms by the scheduled deadline of March 15.

The Prime Minister noted that communities, residents and volunteers should be involved in this process as they are the primary beneficiaries thereof. He once again emphasized that the change in economic behavior is the key to Armenia’s economic development: “Filling garbage or not in irrigation canals is a change of economic behavior. First we fill garbage, smash and break down the canals to lay illegal water lines by giving out bribes right and left, and then we say that we are short of water during the irrigation season. When we say that we need a change in economic behavior, we also mean this. They should back the government during the irrigation season to ensure that works are done properly and then use the canals more carefully. The money that we are spending to remove garbage could well be spent on recurrent maintenance and small capital repairs.”

The Head of Government was briefed on the water level in reservoirs, the control over the amount of water released from reservoirs and other topical issues.

The meeting approved the government’s legislative initiatives on a number of draft laws. In particular, the bill On Amending the Tax Code of the Republic of Armenia suggests introducing a unit of measurement for the applicable rate of excise tax on compressed natural gas, namely 1000 cubic meters shall be reworded into 1 tons; the rate of excise duty shall be reassessed accordingly.

The Government did not object to the bill on amending the RA law on Citizens Not Submitted to Compulsory Military Service, which was introduced by Lusavor Hayastan faction. The amendment suggests extending the effectiveness of the law until 31 December 2018, which will allow those Armenian citizens under the age of 27 years who have avoided compulsory military service to pay the established fee and return to the homeland without being subject to criminal prosecution.

In this connection, Nikol Pashinyan noted that there is a problem here. “Almost 85-90% of those wanted by our law enforcement agencies are military service evaders. This has both objective and subjective reasons. The objective reason is that many have emigrated from Armenia at the time they were not subject to drafting. But it does not release them from the law. I once again urge our compatriots to comply with their conscription duty, return to the homeland and serve their time in Armenia’s Armed Forces. We cannot state at this point of time how long this law will be effective.

The previous government stated in December, 2017 that this law would be revoked sooner or later. After that, there was a change in the political situation, and now we need to understand what will be the response to this legislative initiative among our compatriots in this new situation. Yes, there are some reactions, but we cannot say that there are a lot of beneficiaries.”

The Premier noted that the extension of this arrangement will be re-discussed later this year. “We may actually come to the conclusion that the further operation of this mechanism makes no sense should it turn out that the law does not encourage immigration, or it does not have a significant impact on Defense Ministry’s revenues. That is, this is just an interim step that we are taking now,” Nikol Pashinyan said.


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