Shadow Economy 53 Percent in Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The shadow economy in Armenia is estimated to be between the levels of 40 to 53 percent–preliminary data studies show.

Minister Chief of the Department of Statistics–State Register and Analysis of Armenia–Edward Aghajanov stressed that the data is not yet final.

The shadow economy mainly involves the food industry–light industries–trade–transport–building materials production and to a lesser extent on heavy industry. Aghadjanov said that currently almost 2,500 enterprises and 5,000 individual groups are involved in the survey and there is hope that more accurate data will be published within the year.

Aghajanov called the rumors of the shadow economy making up 70 and even 80 percent of–Republic’s economy as "irresponsible and unreal."

He said that at present–Armenia is the only Commonwealth of Independent State member-country which is trying to resolve this problem on a governmental level. The government program on shadow economy studies is being financed by international organizations–particularly–Eurostat and UNDP. The implementation of the program began in January 1997 and will continue through 1999.

A two-day meeting covering the implementation of the program began on June 26 at the Statistics Department. Experts from the National Statistics Institute of Italy–Central Statistics Bureau of the Netherlands–Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development–as well as top officials from statistic offices in Armenia–Georgia–Uzbekistan–Tajikistan and Ukraine attended the meeting.

The second meeting is schduled to be in Rome within the next six months.

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