“About 440 km-long road sections have been built in 2019 according to data available at this point of time” – Government discussed the 2020 budget request of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure
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Chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the Government today discussed the budget allocation bid for 2020, submitted by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure.
Before proceeding to the agenda, the Prime Minister referred to the road construction activities carried out this year and the figures recorded, which he posted on his Facebook page today. “The facts are as follows: 330km roads had been built and 360km-long road sections had been repaired in Armenia as of November, 2019. We had 360km roads built and repaired as of this December, in addition to 110km constructed through subsidy programs as of November. Thus, 440km-long roads have been built as of this point of time. This year around 360 km of state-of-the-art roads have been renovated, which is as much as in 2013-2017. Here is another important fact: As compared to previous years, the cost of road repairs has significantly decreased. In 2014, the capital reconstruction of 1km road cost over 200 million drams, this year the same amount of work cost 2.5 times cheaper - about 80 million drams. This is a rough estimate, which we got by comparing the funds allocated with the work done actually. Sure, it is good in terms of efficiency, but the data raises some questions, and I think it must be logical for us to analyze this situation and understand how well we perceive it in terms of mere arithmetic efficiency. I have discussed the question with the Prosecutor General and I think, Mr. Papikyan, it would be appropriate for us to submit it to the Prosecutor General for a probe in order to find out whether we have any problematic issues here. Let us agree to double-check this data once again to simply send this general picture without prejudice, without any assertion, so that the prosecution can verify the data and come to a definite conclusion.”
The meeting went over to discuss the Ministry’s priorities and sector-specific activities for 2020. Minister Suren Papikyan first referred to road construction projects, noting that more than 500km-long roads shall be repaired in 2020. The Minister reported on the activities underway as part of the North-South Road Corridor project.
The Prime Minister prioritized the continuation of large-scale road construction works starting this year and, drew the attention of those responsible to the importance of road quality, proper technical supervision, instructed to carry out road-building activities in the coming year in accordance with high quality standards and the logic of enlarging lots. The meeting next discussed the steps to take with a view to improving transport infrastructure and modernizing the stock of elevators. Minister Papikyan noted that pilot tenders shall be launched for the improvement of regional transport networks and the introduction of effective management models.
In this context, Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan introduced Yerevan’s development plan, in particular, referring to the improvement of the transport network, modernization of the stock of elevators, and raising the level of energy saving. Tenders will be held for the purchase of new rolling stock for the capital city in 2020, which will help modernize Yerevan’s transport network.
Prime Minister Pashinyan attached importance to the continuity of the programs, noting that a comprehensive strategy needs to be developed in this field. The Premier emphasized another important fact: local capacity should be involved in the implementation of the proposed programs.
“We need to promote local industries that will have a chain of effect resulting in new jobs, stronger local capacity and professional development, etc,” the Premier pointed out.
The Head of Government was briefed on the ongoing water system reform. It was noted that the government managed to reduce the amount of arrears by about AMD 4.3 billion in 2019; WUAs’ own revenues have increased by AMD 800 million, and a development strategy is currently under discussion.
Nikol Pashinyan suggested discussing ways of improving water infrastructure, finding systemic solutions in order to raise the level of own revenues in line with the process of debt collection of WUAs.
Coming to the energy sector, the Prime Minister highlighted the programs aimed at developing alternative energy and raising the level of energy efficiency. Activities to be carried out at macro and micro-levels aimed at promoting alternative energy were discussed during the meeting, inclusive of public awareness raising efforts.
Minister Suren Papikyan referred to the situation in the field of migration. He noted that this year, 112 refugee families were provided with SNAs, which was not foreseen in the budget, and it is envisaged to allocate 2,270 billion drams to solve this problem in 2020. According to the Minister, this is unprecedented in the history of the Third Republic.
The Premier was told that in 2020 a drastic increase in financial performance, introduction of electronic auction instruments and improvement of public auction procedures are envisaged in the field of state property management. Civil aviation activities will be enhanced through improved flight safety, by developing the transport infrastructure from airport to city and improving the efficiency of the Civil Aviation Committee.
Prime Minister Pashinyan instructed those responsible to keep the matter in the spotlight and gave a number of recommendations.