IMF Concerned Over Armenia Reforms

WASHINGTON (Reuters)–The International Monetary Fund said on Friday it was concerned that policy setbacks in Armenia over the past year have caused it to lose ground on implementing structural reforms.

The fund said in its annual assessment of the country’s economy that–while it was encouraged by Armenia’s reaffirmation of economic reforms–the strategy depended on developing a stable economic environment and further developing structural–legal and institutional reforms.

The IMF said the country needed to focus on its tax system–noting it should be wary of "reliance on advance or negotiated tax payment." It also said the government should be forceful on the issue of tax arrears.

The fund also said Armenia’should attempt to clear a backlog in public spending–particularly on pensions–as soon as possible and said enhanced spending controls were needed to avoid future backlogs.

Armenia is seeking to rebuild its government after the assassination last week of its prime minister and other top officials by a gunman in the parliament building.

Earlier this week Aram Sarksyan–the brother of the slain prime minister–was named as the former Soviet state’s new prime minister.

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