Government set to launch large business support projects
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A Cabinet meeting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Before proceeding to the agenda, the Prime Minister referred to the coronavirus problem: “At this critical moment, we must move forward with well-devised steps and decisions: the Republic of Armenia, Artsakh, the Armenian people and society should become even stronger following this crisis. Yesterday we discussed our anti-crisis economic tactics and strategy. The solution is unambiguous: we will not set the task of reinstating the economic situation we had before the crisis, no matter how good the pre-crisis situation was in Armenia. We set ourselves the task of being guided by much greater ambitions when positioning after the crisis. We must implement development programs during this time. We can focus more on the reform program that we have adopted and, of course, we should provide continued strong support to the economy.
It seems to be obvious that the crisis will result in some social pressure, but we must face it and take adequate steps to defy the emerging challenges. However, it is crucial to achieve maximum efficiency in implementing welfare programs, because we must bear in mind the experience of our past social programs, when assistance often used to be selective, and shadow enrichment processes were triggered under the cover of social assistance. We must rule out such phenomena.”
The Prime Minister next touched upon the government’s action plan, in the frame of which a nearly 25 billion dram-worth package of emergency business assistance will be implemented. “We will launch a package of approximately 25 billion drams (over $50 million) for urgent business support. We will have another package of 25 billion drams made ready for social assistance, which will be used as needed. Also, we will set up a fund of about 80 billion drams aimed at financing reorganizations and readjustments of the economy,” the Premier said.
Nikol Pashinyan noted that crisis loan portfolios are offered to business. “Commercial banks and lending entities will cover 50 percent of the funding, and the balance of 50 percent will be funded by the government. The government financing will be interest-free, and the interest rates of trade banks and lending organizations shall be subsidized by the government. In other words, entrepreneurs will get loans at a zero percent interest rate. The funds will be provided to businesses for paying salaries and meeting their tax liabilities during the crisis. For each employee we will offer no more than 500 thousand drams per month and for a period of no more than 3 months. That is, should companies face any problems in paying wages, we will give them the needed funds together with partner banks at zero interest rate,” the Prime Minister said.
The proposed package will be put up for public discussion within two days, after which it will be finalized.
The Government amended one of its previous decisions. The amendment specifically sets at 200 thousand drams the amount of bonus payments to those prize-winners and champions of Olympic Games and World Chess Olympiads who are citizens of the Republic of Armenia, residents of the Republic of Armenia. Note that they were entitled to 100 thousand drams in bonus payments under the government decree of December 17, 2015.
The meeting next decided that an area of 15 hectares near the Spandaryan railway station in Achapnyak administrative district will be handed over to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia for construction of the Anticorruption Committee and Anticorruption Court headquarters.