PM: “We should devote more time to solving strategic problems in 2020”
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The first Cabinet meeting in 2020 was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Before proceeding to the agenda, the Prime Minister congratulated everyone on the start of the working year: “I think 2019 was a successful year; in 2018-2019 we in fact managed to solve the short-term problems on our agenda, while 2020 should be the time to deal with strategic issues. I also think that 2020 is a good start, and the new or updated concept that we have proposed to the citizens of the Republic of Armenia and not only to the citizens of the Republic of Armenia has in fact been justified.
While the figures are not yet summarized, but at least the visual image is the same, and it should be noted that the decisions we took on Republic Square on New Year’s Eve were not of secondary importance. Taking into account the experience of 2018-2019 and the fact that we sometimes proved short of time, next year’s activities should be planned starting today.
In general, the events of the year are clear for us, the calendar, including September 21, and other events, this year we plan to launch a yarkuchta festival in the Republic of Armenia. What I am saying is that all events should be planned and implemented through normal competition procedures and, if not excluded, at least minimize purchasing practices on the part of one person. And I mean that such investments would be economically justified if they had not already been justified,” he noted.
Nikol Pashinyan also addressed the issue of tourism development in the country and noted that 2020 would be a better year for tourism, for which there are clear signals.
“We all expect 2020 to be a better year for tourism, and there are concrete facts to consider. More reasonable air flights to the Republic of Armenia will begin soon, Ryanair will launch its first flight next week and the process is underway. In the international press, the most prestigious media provide information to their readers and their public, advising to choose Armenia in 2020 as the main tourist destination. All this is good, but I would like to emphasize that we have a lot to do in this area, in particular with regard to increasing the level of service in our country and solving the problem of quality of service,” said the Prime Minister.
Nikol Pashinyan also noted that there will already be two flights to Gyumri. “The content of transporting tourists to other areas of the airport must also be seriously considered. And in general, the scenes that unfortunately still persist are often found in Armenian airports when people leaving the customs area of the airport are subjected to group attacks by various service providers.”
The Prime Minister instructed the heads of the agencies concerned to take steps to solve the above-mentioned problems: “Tourists arriving in Armenia should be provided with information leaflets on approximate taxi fares, approximate prices on everything, including the options and possibilities of using a more civilized taxi service, as this is very important not only today but also in the long run.”
Talking about ways to change people's lives and overcome poverty, the Prime Minister said: “Work is the way to wellbeing and overcoming poverty in the Republic of Armenia. Now we have created sufficient scope for this work, and where there is no self-regulation in this area, we have to impose certain standards. We tell people that we have exempted you from these taxes, we give you the opportunity to carry out various development projects, in agriculture, etc., and we bring you potential customers from all over the world. And so our job is to create all the working conditions.
In the long term, the formula for a good life is education, in the long term, it is impossible to live well without education, without skills and to take advantage of all these opportunities. I would like to emphasize again that by education I mean not only primary education, not only higher or postgraduate education, but also daily education, because man has been in the educational process throughout his life.”
Nikol Pashinyan noted that we should start 2020 based on these findings. “The problem is very clear: we expect fairly high economic growth for the past year, and our economic growth rate in 2020 should be higher than in 2019. The government must make serious efforts to do this, but the biggest effort of the government is to follow a medical principle - first, not to hamper businesses, entrepreneurs so that they can create this national product, first - not to hinder, and where we can help, we have to help solve these problems,” he said.
The Government made decisions to improve the country’s demographic situation. According to one of the decisions, it is proposed to fix a flat-rate benefit of 300,000 drams for the first and second children born on July 1, 2020 or after. Under the applicable procedure, birth allowance was 50,000 drams for the first child and 150,000 drams for the second child. Consequently, the amount of the flat-rate allowance for children will be increased by 250,000 AMD for the first child and by 150,000 AMD for the second child.
The Government amended the decision to grant Anitex a tax exemption permit. The company imported raw materials for textile production (fibers, blankets, cushions) for the first stage of 2018, with a total budget of around AMD 8.6 billion. Currently there is a need to import additional batches of around 2.8 billion drams in the second phase. According to information provided by the company, 44 new jobs have been created and AMD 696,484,383 AMD has been invested in the company as part of the investment program.
Economy Minister Tigran Khachaturian presented a summary of the privileges granted to companies by government decisions in 2019. Last year, 57 programs were approved by the government. “The total investment value made 212 billion drams. We have allowed for AMD 14.8 billion in tax privileges. It is planned to create 3,320 jobs. Some of these projects are still underway and will be continued in 2020 and perhaps in 2021. Many of these programs benefited from VAT deferral privileges. There were 13 such programs with a total VAT amount of 10.1 billion drams,” the Minister said.