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Government to phase out non-cash payment of pensions and care benefits


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A Cabinet meeting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

The meeting approved the Government’s legislative initiative on draft amendments to the laws of the Republic of Armenia “On State Pensions” and “On State Benefits.”

The aim of the bills is to increase the efficiency of the process of paying pensions and care benefits. As a result, a transition will be made to the non-cash payment of pensions and care benefits, ensuring targeted payments and reducing risks. The bill suggests establishing that pensions should be paid non-cash, with some exceptions. The transition will be implemented in stages: first in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor (starting from July 1, 2020).

Touching upon the motion, Nikol Pashinyan said: “Let us note that strategically there should be no cash payments in our country at all. Now we spend two, three, four, five times more resources to investigate corruption cases, considering that kickbacks mostly go through cash channels.” The Head of Government pointed out that the problem has also a civilizational and socio-psychological aspect.

The Government went on to approve the bills on amending the law “On Social Assistance” and a number of related laws, and on amending the law “On Public Organizations.” The Executive approved the “Work Armenia” strategy, its scope and financial assessment. The strategy establishes actions to solve these problems. The strategy seeks to improve the quality of life through labor and professional self-improvement by developing human resources, promoting employment and implementing institutional reforms.

Referred to as “Potential” and implemented by the Ministry of High-Tech Industry, the start-up program for Diaspora youth seeks to promote economic development in the Republic of Armenia by attracting technological talents of Armenian origin: the best business projects will receive grants.

The Government decided to redistribute 80,000.9 million drams between programs in the state budget. The target program provides for a five-day boot camp for startups. The winners will get awards in the form of grants.

The government decided to add the line of “passenger cars” to the list of goods subject to customs clearance in the “Processing for Domestic Use” category. Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Bagrat Badalyan noted that the amended regulations will allow importing right-handed cars to Armenia (without the requirement of transformation), after which they will be replaced by left-handed steering system. After customs clearance, the cars will have to be registered with the police and they can be safely operated in the territory of Armenia.

Touching upon the decision, Nikol Pashinyan recalled that the import of right-hand drive cars into the country was prohibited in general. As a result, many citizens had been changing the steering gear to left-hand in Georgia.

“In fact, these citizens were spending a lot of money on relocation outside Armenia. We will tackle this issue in the following way: the import of right-hand drive cars is prohibited, but we envisage the possibility of importing right-hand drive cars to Armenia under a temporary arrangement so that the steering fear could be changed to the left-hand side, after which the vehicles so imported may be registered and allowed for commissioning in Armenia,” the Head of Government said, noting that the right-hand drive cars cannot be operated during the specified period, and the wrongdoers will be fined. Emphasizing that the Government thereby complies with the citizens’ request, the Premier voiced hope that there would be no abuse in this matter.

A number of proposals and recommendations were voiced during the exchange of views that followed. Nikol Pashinyan told those responsible to consider the issue carefully in order to make a final decision, taking into account all the nuances.

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