Parliament Approves Energy Recovery Program

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A special parliamentary meeting Tuesday continued discussion of the bill on amendmen’s to the law on the State Budget of Armenia for 1999.

Most of the 27 deputies who spoke at the meeting shared the concern over the budget gap and expressed confidence that the funds redistribution scheme proposed by the government is a serious and necessary step.

The speakers pointed out that for the first time since Armenia gained independence–the government admitted that the budget is faulty and suggested amendmen’s.

The parliament members unanimously agreed to the need for the recovery of the energy sector. Minister of Energy David Zadoyan pointed out that the energy sector’s debts total 95 billion drams–and other organizations’ debts to the sector total 68 billion drams. The minister promised that as soon as these sums are received the industry’s debts totaling 20 billion drams will be settled.

According to Zadoyan–the reduction of internal energy losses–inventory and higher level of paymen’s enabled the energy sector not to accumulate new debts over the last two months. The minister pointed out that 7 billion drams may be annually saved by the optimization of management alone. In particular–due to the raising of the Armenian nuclear power plant’s capacity up to 320 megawatts the cost of production of electricity lowered from 13.8 drams to 10.8 drams. 44 of the 133 high-voltage transformers are disconnected as they are in no-load operation.

The minister said that the afore-mentioned measures will create the possibility for internal energy losses reduction and gave assurances that electricity rates will not be raised.

The minister also stressed the need for investmen’s in the energy sector. According to him–Armenia can exports energy–as neighboring countries Iran–Georgia and Turkey are in need for it.

Some of the parliament members expressed doubt in the new government–as–according to deputy Aghasi Arshakian–it is a team formed of members from the six previous governmen’s.

The discussion will be continued on September 1–when the parliamentary factions are to present their proposals to the government–and the Parliament is to discuss the ratification of two international agreemen’s.

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