Government Presents Program to Parliament

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–At a December 2 special parliament meeting the new government presented its program–simultaneously raising the issue of confidence to the government.

According to Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan–the government’s program is the display of the planks of Vazgen Sargsyan’s government–President Kocharian and the Unity bloc’s election platforms. The main ideas of the program will be reflected in a comprehensive program of social and economic development for 2000-2002–which the government will present in the near future.

The prime minister preferred presenting without thorough analysis the major provisions–which–if implemented–will make it possible to ensure the implementation of the whole program. The major provisions are as follows:

*2000 must become the year of raising the efficiency of the budget’s expenditure and revenue patterns by way of adopting a realistic and unconditionally feasible budget–forming a complex program of reforms. It will be the year of preparations for a qualitatively new stage of state development;

*The government places importance on the priority of export–higher competitiveness in the domestic market–and effective use of local raw materials;

*The government will be using all possible levers of encouraging foreign and local investmen’s. Starting next year–all projects with large investors will concern the Armenian Development Agency. The development of a number of important investment programs is close to completion. These programs will be presented at a business forum scheduled to be held in London next year;

*The government understands that the establishment of a competitive field on the domestic market will not be realized unless a clampdown on shadow economics is launched–a legislative framework regulating economic competition is formed–and any attempt of unfair competition is exposed and prevented;

*The government will be paying attention to the development of small businesses–branches and industries geared to export–if possible on the basis of the domestic mining and mineral industries;

*Disaster zone reconstruction and the strengthening of mountainous–remote and border regions will remain a high priority for the government;

*A policy of easing the tax burden and ensuring its balanced distribution will be carried out–with special attention given to ensuring stability in the system and protecting the rights of taxpayers;

*The government points out the importance and necessity of a comprehensive anti-corruption program in Armenia.

Proceeding from the current political situation the government has deemed the struggle against political terrorism as one of the priority tasks. "We must combat the very essence of this phenomenon–applying a corresponding effective program of security–and get rid of an atmosphere that can create conditions for terrorism. The most viable method to deal with such phenomena is that each political force–figure–state official–and each citizen–should be ready to bear responsibility for every word pronounced and every action taken." the prime minister said.

Aram Sargsyan emphasized that democracy has no alternative in Armenia–declaring that each step aimed against democracy in Armenia–will be aimed against the future of the nation. "We must create an atmosphere of respect and tolerance towards the institutions that emerged in Armenia during the past ten years. We must regard the Constitution as the main factor of stability of our state," the prime minister declared.

Among the biggest achievemen’s of the country Aram Sargsyan mentioned the establishment of the Armenian Army. "It is unequivocal that the Army should never become a factor impacting internal political life in Armenia. But no one has the right to state that the Army should not oppose the circumstances imperiling our state."

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