Government Structural Changes Introduced

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan presides over cabinet meeting Thursday
Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan presides over cabinet meeting Thursday

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan presides over cabinet meeting Thursday

Disagreements continue between Economy Minister and Prime Minister who also argues with Education Minister.

YEREVAN—Newly-appointed prime minister of Armenia. Karen Karapetyan has proposed structural changes to the ministries. The new proposal was introduced Thursday by the government’s chief of staff minister Davit Harutunyan, who, among other changes noted that the ministry of urban development would be dissolved.

Harutunyan said a new committee of Architecture and Cultural Property Preservation will be formed to address some of the responsibilities of the now defunct ministry.

Harutunyan also said that the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources would be renamed to Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources, while the Ministry of Transport and Communication was renamed to Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies.

The ministry that would be affected the most by this reorganization will the Ministry of Economy, which has been renamed Ministry of Support to Investments and Enterprises. Under the restructuring development of information technology and the department of tourism would be extracted from the ministry’s purview and assigned to other ministries or committees.

The acting Minister of Economy, Artsvik Minasyan, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, was one of two ministers that challenged this proposal, which requires parliamentary approval before it goes into effect.

“We want to make it clear to entrepreneurs and investors that there is an agency to which they can present their grievances, demands, desires, objections and advice, and that structure will look after them to ensure that they face no obstacles,” Karapetian explained during a cabinet meeting in Yerevan reported Azatutyun.am.

Minasyan spoke out against the proposed name change saying that “removing the word ‘economy’ is not desirable to me as the acting economy minister, especially given that I think the economy is not just about investments and support for entrepreneurship.”

This exchange between Minasyan and Karapetyan was the second disagreement between the two. Last week, the newly-appointed prime minister Minasya’s request to grant a legal tax incentive to a private company. “I don’t believe it,” Karapetyan said on September 15 in response to further explanations given by Minasyan.

The ARF was quick to respond when its Bureau member and political representative Armen Rustamian criticized the prime minister calling his behavior political grandstanding.

Also on Thursday, Karapetyan criticized another ARF member of government, the acting Minister of Education Levon Mkrtchyan, saying that he was not satisfied with the explanations given regarding the change of status of a high education institution in Gyumri

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation party, of which Minasian is a senior member, hit back the following day, criticizing the premier’s behavior as a political “show.”

Another cabinet member questioning the changes proposed by Karapetyan was acting Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosian who voiced her opposition to the dissolution of the Ministry for Urban Development and its transformation into a Committee on Architecture and Preservation of Cultural Values.

Poghosian argued that her ministry already has a division tasked with protecting historical monuments. “In my view, merging urban development with the preservation of cultural monuments would mean that we seriously jeopardize the preservation of our historical-cultural heritage,” she warned, according to azatutyun.am.

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