President Kocharian Says 2001 Will Be A Turning Point

YEREVAN (Armenpress–Noyan Tapan)–Speaking in a televised interview on November 2 Armenian President Robert Kocharian expressed his dissatisfaction with the tax authorities who fall short of their targets. "The tax authorities do not show necessary political will in tax collection," he said–adding that a number of steps will be taken to radically improve the situation in this area.

According to Kocharian–the poor budget revenues collection has both objective and subjective reasons. "The first four months of the year were lost for economy and in this respect the current government has inherited all the accumulated problems," Kocharian commented.

The President was optimistic regarding the future of economy. He announced that the year 2001 will be a turning point for the Armenian economy–and in next April-May the people will feel the positive effects of economic growth. Kocharian’s optimism is based on a number of agreemen’s on investment programs concluded with World Bank and Lincy Foundation–which are expected to bring several millions dollars to the Armenian economy.

The implementation of the programs funded by the Lincy Foundation will create up to 30,000 new jobs. Kocharian also pins great hopes on the events that will mark the 1700th anniversary of Christianity adoption by Armenia’s that will be celebrated throughout 2001. According to him–100,000 tourists are expected to visit Armenian in 2001 and in terms of investmen’s this is estimated at about $100 million.

Kocharian also added that these programs may become true only if the political stability is maintained in the country.

In his interview with the Armenian National Television President Kocharian also said that while bringing President of the 21st century International Association Arkady Vardanian to the Department of the Interior–law-enforcement agencies committed errors in dealing with journalists.

"We should apologize to journalists for the errors as well as should correctly comment on and assess the facts," he said. Stressing that journalists have the right to receive information–and law-enforcement agencies must respect this right–the President pointed out that they are liable to discharge their duties and must not be ashamed of it; and must act decisively and within the law.

Agreeing that no specific program was presented–but the issue of the change of power was raised at the rallies organized by Arkady Vardanian–and Political Secretary of the Union of Socialist Forces and Intelligentsia Ashot Manucharian–Kocharian expressed that everything possible is being done to hinder the country’s development. According to him–these forces also realize that Armenia has favorable prospects for economic development and that 2001 will be a turning-point in the country’s economic development.

The president expressed satisfaction over the fact that despite all the difficulties–a civil society is slowly forming in Armenia and the public feels responsible for the country–for results of any activities–and the consequences of any appeals. He pointed out that Arkady Vardanian managed to gather a certain audience–as discontent exists in the country: wages–pensions and allowances are not paid in time–and jobs are lacking. "I understand–but I want to say again that I am quite optimistic about the current processes in the country. I just wish a little patience to our people. Have a little patience–and everything will be well," the President said.

As regards the proportion of Parliament members elected by the majority and proportional election systems–the president pointed out that he is for the increase in the number of Parliament members elected by the proportional system. "I think that is the only way of right formation of the political environment and strengthening of political parties."

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