Nikol Pashinyan: “Our strategic vision is to make of Armenia a paradise for talents with unlimited opportunities for developing skills”
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attended a symposium, referred to as “Fundamental milestones on the way to economic revolution in the Republic of Armenia,” which was dedicated to the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution (2018-2019). The symposium was held at the conference hall of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Prime Minister welcomed the conference, stressing that it is important for the government that the scientific community be involved in the processes underway in the country.
“The government should not be isolated and has to be in close touch with the scientific community. Indeed, this does not mean that we share the same views on all issues, but I am convinced that the discussion will identify useful ideas – strategic ideas that will be implemented irrespective of the underlying background,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
Speeches were delivered by economist, expert Vahagn Khachatryan, Associate Professor at the ASEU Chair of Economics Theory, PhD, expert Atom Margaryan, Deputy Director of RA NAS Institute of Economics Hayk Markosyan, Acting Head of ASPU Department of Economics and Management, Researcher-Analyst at RA Ministry of Defense, Associate Professor Gayane Harutyunyan, Doctor of Economics, Professor of Management and Business Department at the YSU Department of Economics and Management Ashot Markosyan, senior researcher at ASEU Amberd Research Center, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Professor Samvel Avetisyan, Head of the Department of Economics at the National Academy of Sciences, Ph.D. Svetlana Dallakyan, YSU lecturer, qualified auditor, Associate Professor Tigran Harutyunyan and Head of RA NAS Department of Economics, PhD Mary Manucharyan. The speakers submitted proposals stemming from the basic provisions of the Government’s five-year program as adopted on 8 February, 2019.
Summing up the proceedings of the conference, Prime Minister Pashinyan said: “In general, I can say that the whole range of issues raised here is on the agenda of the Armenian government, which is good news and shows that in addition to these measures, we have other channels of communication with our scientific community and, in fact, we can form a common field where we work.
Of course, I cannot have immediate contacts with everyone, but this discussion shows that the government representatives keep in touch with you and put the relevant information on the agenda of the government.
We have talked a lot about the problems of small parcels of land. We are working on this issue with great intensity so that we can put small unused parcels into circulation. But here is the biggest problem we have to solve – it is a legal problem, so that the citizens’ property rights are fully protected.
Here, you have put a lot of emphasis on the revelation of true owners in the mining industry. Perhaps you know that we have introduced a package of legislative measures to identify the real owners in the subsoil area, who will come into effect on July 1 of the current year. Of course, this is a matter of professional approaches, but experts have assured us that this legislative package shall make it inevitable to identify the true owners in mining industry; otherwise these mines will not be exploited.
The other major problem in mining industry is the structure of this field and it has been noted that 90% of our mining industry exports are ore concentrates. And this, of course, is a big problem, which means that our state has, in essence, the status of a raw materials exporting country with all its consequences. Our task is to expand this mining cycle as far as possible.
In this regard, the government needs to hold discussions, negotiations, we have already developed investment proposals, and we hope that at least one of these investment proposals will be implemented and we will do all that. Here, of course, there are several factors affecting the long-term forecasts for metal prices, but there are optimistic indications in this area as well.
The transparent trading in corporate shares is a very important issue for the government. Here, one of the speeches indicated that it is necessary to discuss the possibility of using the pension funds in low-risk technology areas. I know that our pension funds are also interested in buying shares and investing in this area.
Of course, this is the first step. Now, we are considering ways of identifying a state-owned company, dealing with its recovery and transparency in a bid to put up its shares for sale on the stock market, which will encourage other companies. This is important for both companies and citizens, as companies may have an alternative source of investment, because in addition to banks, either the citizens will be allowed to invest in this way.
Today, as we see that the level of deposits in banks is increasing, we see opposing criticisms that citizens have no place to invest and it is clear that they must invest in banks. Indeed, it is a big problem. One of the best ways to invest is to invest in companies with an intellectual property field. Of course, there was also a mention of the venture capital fund here. It's also in our discussions.
I want to address the issue of the military industry separately. It has been rightly pointed out that military spending occupies a considerable place in our budget. I fully agree with the observation that we should make sure that these expenditures are not a burden, but a possibility for the development of the economy.
In this sense, we are creating a Ministry of High Technology Industry in Armenia, which should solve this problem: we should try to create such a structure or we can really offer our armed forces modern standards, but our destination, just as for the economy in general, should be export, which is a very important direction.
In general, the good news is that in the 21st century, the engine of the economy has become technology. Why is this good news for us because technologies are the means that can help us overcome our transportation restrictions and many other restrictions.
On the Web, we can find a clip of the top 20 companies in the world over the last 20 years and then we see that, for example, three decades ago, the 20 largest and most valuable companies in the world were those who possessed oil, gas or any material means, but this trend has now changed. Today, the 20 richest societies in the world are based on phenomena that did not exist in nature.
This is an important feature of the new economy, which is good news for us, because at least half of the most expensive companies are based on a substance that did not exist in the past and it is only of a production of human thought.
Therefore, this means that we can create new and predictable phenomena that can stimulate the economy. In this respect, I think that is why efficiency has become an important pillar of the thought that what we do, spend, use, consume, we must do it effectively.
I think we need to make mentality a productive and technological thought for us. Here, of course, I agree with the statement that our education system is of crucial importance. Here we pose a problem of efficiency today, because if we take 5-6-7 hours a day from a child, we have to calculate exactly what we give to the child, why we give it and what we want to have.
This is very important because if we study our programs, we can see that we want to give children the knowledge they do not need.
Therefore, promoting efficiency and talent, promoting work, helping our citizens believe in their power becomes the most important priority of our government.
In the Republic of Armenia, there should be no phenomenon that constantly inspires a man that he can do nothing, nothing will change and so on. The number one enemy in the Republic of Armenia is this thought, that we can not, that we do not have the opportunity, that we have to adapt. This is the first problem, including in the economy. It is a phenomenon that leads to poverty, to despair.
Changing our way of thinking is our greatest challenge, and it is not a fantastic genre, because we have been able to do it at the political level and we need to continue this process. In fact, the change of political behavior of the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, the change of political behavior in general have led to political changes and the change of economic behavior of the citizens of the Republic of Armenia should lead to economic changes.
Today, all major global companies are looking for talents. Yesterday, I met with students from Harvard University and told them that our most strategic vision is to make the Republic of Armenia a paradise for talents, make a country with unlimited opportunities for developing skills. I believe, I know, I am convinced and I see that we will achieve this goal. We need consistency, diligence, patience and, of course, intellectual work that we will do together.”
The objective of the conference is to develop strong guarantees for the rapid development of Armenia’s economy on the basis of modern technologies, modernize its structure, increase the international competitiveness of Armenian products, export scientific products, and improve the country’s trade balance.