Parliament Approves Government Program

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–At a special session of the Armenian National Assembly Friday–the Armenian government submitted the program of its activities to the Parliament for consideration. According to Article 74 of the Constitution–submitting the program of its activities–the government raises the issue of confidence. The draft decision on passing a vote of no confidence in the government may be proposed within 24 hours after the issue of no confidence in the government is raised. Prime Minister Andranik Markarian presented the program of the government’s activities. The government’s program was approved by the National Assembly.

The program of the government’s activities was elaborated on the basis of the election programs of the president and "Unity" bloc and–according to the government–is a continuation of the programs of the governmen’s headed by the prime ministers Vazgen Sargsyan and Aram Sargsyan. Prime Minister Andranik Markarian presented the ideology of the program. According to this ideology–the government sees two urgent problems:

The shift of accents of economic reforms to the real sector–the determination of medium-term and long-term goals and their attainment; radical improvement of the state government system–in particular–uncompromising struggle against corruption and clan system through implementing a realistic and comprehensive program. The government is now drafting the bill "On civil service" which will be submitted to the Parliament in the future. The government emphasizes the importance of high-ranking officials declaring their incomes and intends to submit the relevant bill to the National Assembly. According to the government–one of the most important instrumen’s in struggling against the most widely-spread kind of corruption – embezzlement of state property – is the recently adopted Law "On state purchases" as well as the establishment of the rule of law and responsibility of government officials for shortcomings in their activities.

The main goal of the government’s economic policy is economic growth and reduction of poverty. Creation of jobs–encouragement of investmen’s and support of entrepreneurship are considered the most important means for solving the problem of poverty. For this purpose–a special council will be established which will present a comprehensive program of improving the investment climate. In its foreign economic policy the government will aim at Armenia’s maximum integration into the global economic system–export encouragement–attraction of investmen’s–development of intergovernmental economic cooperation as well as cooperation with international trade and economic organizations–development of relevant structures which would be engaged in enhancing the efficiency of foreign-trade activities. It is pointed out in the program that mining materials as well as gems–precious metals and jewelry has lately been exported from Armenia. At the London business forum the government–in cooperation with the World Bank–intends to draw the world community’s attention to a number of investment projects.

The government also intends to implement reforms in the customs and tax spheres and increase their efficiency. The government points out that the blunders committed during the implementation of reforms resulted in a sad economic situation: annual arrears of budget revenues total 20.4 billion drams; 26.7 billion drams accumulated during previous years–the repayment of only 7,000,000,000 drams being provided for in the budget; the projected underfinancing from external sources is 4.9 billion drams–which has resulted in a 45-billion-dram budget deficit. The government intends to approve a schedule of gradual repayment of accumulated debts (in 2000-2001)–the repayment of debts on social programs to be considered a priority.

As a result of the implementation of its program–the government guarantees a two-fold increase of pensions and allowances–wages in budget-financed organizations as well as an 25% annual increase in exports. The government states that its activities will be aimed at doubling the GDP within the next 7-8 years as well as at establishing a long-lasting stability of market prices.

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