YEREVAN (Armenian Weekly)—Armenia’s National Assembly approved the new government program on Friday, October 21, with a vote of 85 for, seven against, and six abstentions.
The program, which was approved by Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan’s cabinet during an extraordinary sitting on October 18, was introduced to the National Assembly on October 20.
“Our primary objective is to ensure a free, fair and competitive environment for business,” Karapetian told the National Assembly during the presentation, reported RFE/RL’s Armenian service azatutyun.am.
“Law-abiding economic entities must not notice and must not be affected by the work of tax and customs bodies,” he said. “Contacts between them must be reduced to a minimum. Entrepreneurs must be certain that they can be subjected to criminal liability only in the event of fraud and other offenses dangerous to the public.”
“Let us work with foreign investor in order to prove that it is safe and simply profitable to do business and invest in Armenia,” added Karapetian.
The program, which is comprised of 33 pages, promises to stimulate economic growth in Armenia by fighting corruption, better tax administration, and equal conditions for all businesses. The new program also says the government will reform Armenia’s tax and customs services in order to make tax collection less arbitrary.
Before the Friday vote, Levon Zurabyan, deputy chairman of the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) Party and head of the ANC Parliamentary Faction announced that his party would not support the new program. “We cannot express confidence to any government that was nominated by the ruling party. Thus, we will express our non-confidence to the government program, by voting against [it],” he told reporters.
The opposition Orinats Yerkir (Rule of Law) Parliamentary Faction abstained from voting.