President Expects $250 $300 Million Investment in 1999

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Some $250-$300 million of investment is expected in Armenia in 1999–President Robert Kocharian said–speaking to TV reporters.

The volume of foreign investment in Armenia totaled nearly $210-$250 million in 1998–with a $7.2 Gross Domestic Product growth–which–Kocharian said–came as a surprise to most experts. The data published in January evaluated the ’98 GDP at 6 percent.

According to the president–the 1998 budget was balanced by 96 percent–with tax revenues exceeding the projected size.

Foreign currency incomings dropped by $80-100 million in 1998 because of the crisis. The president ascribed the circumstance partly to the lower exports to Russia and partly to the reduced private money transfers.

According to the president–the government is seeking new ways to encourage investmen’s and is holding negotiations with investors. Kocharian stated that Armenia has the most liberal economic legislation and lowest tax rates among the CIS countries.

The president expressed his concern over the fact that in the mounting election campaign the opposition might take steps discouraging foreign investors. He urged the opposition–especially the "serious–formed parties," to observe the proprieties in carrying on the election struggle.

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