“A process of economic transformations is underway in our country” - Nikol Pashinyan meets with community leaders, visits enterprises in Aragatsotn Marz
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Today, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan paid a working visit to Aragatsotn Marz of Armenia. Nikol Pashinyan’s visit kicked off in the administration of Aragatsotn Marz with a meeting held with local community leaders.
Prior to discussing economic and agricultural issues, the Acting Prime Minister referred to the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for December 9, 2018: “First, I want to stress as follows: You may know that early parliamentary elections are expected shortly, and we have set a goal for these elections to be the best in our history. By saying this, I mean that the official results of the vote should reflect the will of the citizens of the Republic of Armenia. What needs to be done for this?
1. Eliminate any illegal influence on the will of voters. You know that the most popular method of recent years is the selective bribe, and the police and the law enforcement system as a whole received a very clear task so that any attempt to distribute bribes was severely punished. God forbid that there were attempts to distribute bribes anywhere, and I learned this information not from law enforcement agencies, but from the press, because I believe that the police of the Republic of Armenia should have up-to-date information on any such manifestation and at the level of preventive, preventive measures this problem must be solved.
2. In Armenia, there is an institute of “sending voters”, when owners, heads of companies invite people working in their companies and the community heads invite community residents and use specific levers in an effort to direct them to a specific vote. This phenomenon should also be eradicated from Armenia, because our task is to clearly state that every citizen of Armenia can make his choice without any extra help.
I also want to give my example: for many years I headed the largest newspaper in Armenia, I was the editor-in-chief, and this was an opposition newspaper. Of course, the staff was not very big, but there was no such case that I would ever tell any employee to vote for the candidate of my choice. I think this is disrespectful to people.
The meaning of the political process is as follows: politics is a public phenomenon, people see who the candidate is, read their election programs or listen to their comments and make a decision. Our task is to ensure that this election campaign is held in complete equality, that is, there should not be any obstacles for any political force during the election campaign. If the hall is accessible to any political force, and the law provides for this, then it must be accessible to others.
Today the freedom of mass media is a widely known fact, and television must be equally accessible to all. I do not want to say anything about the Internet, because international organizations have already classified Armenia as one of the countries with open access to the Internet, and we are in the list of the leading countries of the world, which is very pleasing.”
Then Nikol Pashinyan touched upon the current economic situation in Armenia, current trends, recorded indices and further steps. Speaking about the importance of structural changes in the economy, the Acting Prime Minister noted that a positive growth trend was recorded in October: “In October, we had a 3 percent increase in economic activity owing to industry, small and medium enterprises, and we have a 12 percent increase in exports after a decline last month. This shows that in our country a process of transformation of the economy is underway.”
Touching upon the development of agriculture, Nikol Pashinyan said that it is necessary to make serious changes in this area, so that hailstorms, pests and other adverse developments could not have a tangible impact on industry and on the development of the sphere, as a whole.
The Acting Premier talked about the effectiveness of the anti-hail system, noting that he had instructed the Minister of Emergency Situations to study their working cycle and present a conclusion. “Based on the information currently available, it can be said that with proper management, these stations can operate efficiently. Especially if they are locally produced, and we will continue to develop this direction, we will promote local production and get effective anti-hail protection,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
In his speech, the Acting Prime Minister touched upon the problems of the irrigation system and effective water management. Nikol Pashinyan stressed the importance of water conservation and spoke about the “shadow gardens.” “It turns out that there are 20 hectares of gardens in Armenia, which, since 1996, have not paid a penny for irrigation water. I said that there are “shadow gardens” that are not registered, and for this reason, we have had 60-80% loss of irrigation water in our country. This is non-sense, and this problem needs to be solved very quickly,” he said.
Nikol Pashinyan also spoke about the use of water resources by small hydropower plants, noting that as a result of inspections conducted at approximately 187 small hydropower stations, it turned out that 150 of them had no water meters installed. The acting prime minister stressed that the solution of these problems is important from the point of view of increasing the efficiency of agriculture, and their solution is one of the government's priorities, since agriculture has been and remains a strategic industry.
During the meeting with the heads of communities of the Aragatsotn region, Nikol Pashinyan touched upon the investment programs of the government. “At present, an investment package of industrial programs worth 500 million US dollars is being discussed, and should an agreements be reached over the construction of the proposed facilities in 2019, the economic image of our country would change to 180 degrees We are talking about the construction of several factories, and the government will do everything possible to realize all of this,” the Acting Prime Minister said.
Speaking about Armenia’s economic development prospects, Nikol Pashinyan said: “With regard to economic development, our strategy remains unchanged - the promotion of labor. For many years, poverty was encouraged in Armenia, since at that time the current political system was beneficial for people to be poor and take bribes. Our goal is to have the power in the Republic of Armenia that the people want to see. That is why a citizen of Armenia must be prosperous, and we want to encourage work. We need to change the system of social payments so that it encourages people to work, and not be poor.”
According to Nikol Pashinyan, the political changes resulted in de-monopolization and provided equal conditions for all: today there is no such economic activity prohibited in our country. A second sugar factory will be commissioned in the near future. Favorable conditions have been created for a person to earn his living in a dignified manner. “The Bible says: “Earn your bread with your own sweat.” In this logic, after the political changes that occurred in Armenia, we must reformulate our activities. Though we not so many, but we are a great nation. We are setting ourselves big tasks, and we need to work day and night for the sake of our country, for the sake of our children. Our children should live in a free and happy Armenia,” the Acting Prime Minister concluded.
Then the Acting Prime Minister answered questions related to irrigation water, agricultural insurance, cultural programs, etc.
Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the existence of an effective working atmosphere between the municipality of the region and the communities, which is important in terms of discussing further steps to identify and resolve existing problems.
As part of his working visit to Aragatsotn, Nikol Pashinyan also visited the Gourmet Durme chocolate producing company, a poultry farm and a pig farm in Aparan.
During the visit, the Acting Prime Minister familiarized himself with the process of investment programs, production volumes and development prospects. Gurme Durme was said to have completed the construction of a new factory. French-Armenian businessmen have invested 200 thousand euros in the new project. Currently the company employs 32 people. The output is sold on the local market. In 2018 the company started to export products to Moscow.
Nikol Pashinyan was told that 2 million euros had been invested in the local farm, which has some 40 thousand birds and 1000 pigs. The eggs produced are sold on the local market; pork will come to the market later this year.
The Acting Prime Minister welcomed the aforementioned investment programs, noting that the Government is prepared to discuss and support all those projects aimed at economic development and business expansion.