Nikol Pashinyan: “Armenia is to become a country where major businesses will never get smaller, and the smaller ones will grow into medium-size entities and so on”
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Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and RA President Armen Sargsyan met with Armenian businessmen engaged in different sectors of the economy. The meeting was held under the motto “Business Environment and Investments: Challenges and Solutions.”
Addressing the meeting, the Acting Prime Minister referred to those economic processes underway in Armenia and the prospects for economic development. In his speech, Nikol Pashinyan stated, in part:
“Honorable President of the Republic of Armenia,
The President of the Republic of Armenia rightfully noticed that we are in a very important stage of our country’s development, when the political revolution must be transformed, or more properly combined with an economic revolution. And of course, our greatest ally is Armenia’s business class. We rely on the talent of our business people because as I have repeatedly pointed out, not every person can create a masterpiece of art, or break into science; doing business calls for a special talent, too.
I am convinced that many representatives of the Armenian nation, and the Armenian people, in general, have the needed skills, and not only those who are already engaged in it, but also those who for some reason have so far refrained from doing business in Armenia. Our mission is to encourage and help them tap their skills.
Preterm parliamentary elections are going to be held in Armenia, and you may know that fewer business people will run for the National Assembly in the upcoming general elections, which is the result of political processes going on in Armenia. But I want to emphasize that this should not be interpreted as downgrading or somewhat humiliating the businessman’s status in our country. On the contrary, we are convinced that we want and we will ensure that there are many more businessmen in the Republic of Armenia, since they are the ones to generate added value, and therefore, they are supposed to enjoy a higher status than MPs, ministers, and government officials.
I feel that the roles should be reshuffled as we are building our country’s future. Also, I do believe that business and the economy should not be politicized in any way. I think it to be in the best interest of both the business circles and the public at large as it will result in a more effective management.
You may recall that the September decline in the economy was talked about much in the country. The Government’s comments are as follows: natural processes of transformation are taking place in the economy, and we are witnessing a change in Armenia’s economic structure.
The next month’s economic activity indicators came to prove that our explanation of the situation was justified because after September’s fall we had a 3% economic activity index in October. In other words, we have an increase in economic activity while the traditional spheres - agriculture and mining – have recorded a double-digit decline in the same period. We have an 8.1% industry growth in October, owing to production, and not mining. This is a pretty optimistic indication for us. At the same time, we boasted a 12% export growth in October, which means that the predicted recovery process is underway in our country.
This does not mean indeed that we are underestimating the mining industry or agriculture. The point is that we have a clear objective that Armenia’s mining industry should meet best international standards and be predictable in environmental and security terms.
We will strongly support the introduction of new technologies in agriculture: technologies that will not have any negative impact on the environment. At the same time, the farming sector will not be dependant on weather conditions and the infective pests that have been secretly imported to Armenia.
There has been too much talk about investments in recent months. To be honest, I avoided talking about the topic, and even now I am not that pleased to dwell on it because I do not want to address this issue unless there are specific investments made in Armenia. But now, as we enter a new phase, I want to state in confidence that if we manage to implement those investment programs, over which we have specific arrangements and commitments, the Republic of Armenia will have a new status, as some of these large investment projects will not only be able to completely change the image of the Armenian economy, but will also open up new development horizons.
And I want to express the hope that this message will be circulated throughout Armenia and outside of Armenia. We want to once again reaffirm that there will be no redistribution of property in Armenia, the right of ownership is guaranteed, the security of investments is guaranteed.
We hope that the ongoing political processes will encourage our businessmen to make more investments because the most important and functional feature of a resolution is the participation of every citizen and every businessman in it.
We hope that anyone desirous of making his move will do so. We hope that new people and layers will be involved in that process, and the Republic of Armenia shall become a country where major businesses will never get smaller, instead the smaller ones will grow into medium-size entities and so on.
This is very important because sometimes there is an impression that by favoring small entities, we force them to be small forever, and by attempting to counterbalance major businesses, we make them shrink as much as possible.
We want to build a truly technological and industrial economy that would meet the 21st century standards with ever wide opportunities and prospects available in order to respond to the challenges that exist in our country in economic, political and security terms.
Our meeting is held on the eve of a landmark pan-Armenian event. As you may know, tomorrow another telethon will be organized by Hayastan All-Armenian Fund (HAAF) in Los Angeles.
HAAF serves one of the most important tools for our country’s development. It is designed to unite our efforts and mobilize us in implementing joint programs and goals. The Fund’s past record somewhat shaded its activities and undermined its resource of public confidence. The substitution of the executive director was meant to restore people’s trust in the Fund and make of it a new platform for the consolidation of the Armenian people.
Drastic changes will be made in the management process, making it more transparent, controlled, accountable, and effective. These changes will soon be visible and will be publicly available. The Fund’s executive board will be transformed to ensure maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
I feel that the Fund can deal with such issues that the Government cannot solve at this point with existing resources. That is why I would highly appreciate the business community’s support to the Fund.
All the money raised this year will be used to build deep wells and drip irrigation systems in Artsakh, develop infrastructure in Armenia, ensure school heating with solar energy, create favorable conditions for high-tech startups and establishing a youth creative center. The Fund’s operations will be completely transparent and highly accountable. We will do our utmost to have every donation serve its purpose. After all, our efforts sought that very goal in the past few months. I think you are all well aware of it. You may remember many wondering whether it should have been done in such a transparent manner and in public.
I think yes, it is just what we need to do to make sure that the Armenian government will not tolerate any use of a lump in any way because the HAAF has the money collected through the efforts and sweat of all Armenians and, therefore, these amounts should definitely go into credible and trustworthy hands. There is no doubt that we will do everything possible to make the Fund more effective and transparent.
I hope that all these measures and the atmosphere that prevails nationwide will be echoed by all Armenians, and the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s regular fundraising will be held with great enthusiasm and will yield good results.