Newly Appointed Ministers Pledge to Improve Situation in Armenia

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The newly appointed state revenues minister Andranik Manukian and the heads of forty biggest Armenian companies–including Aray–Armenal–Grand Tobacco–Armenian Airlines–Mika Armenia and others–met November 13 to discuss the problems hindering their businesses.

The businessmen conveyed to the minister their concerns regarding smuggling–the black market and tax inspections. They also said the tax field must be as transparent as possible.

Mikael Baghdasarov–the head of Mika Armenia Ltd.–one of the biggest companies dealing with fuel import–complained that other small companies mix petrol with other substances–such as kerosene–and increase the volumes of petrol as a result of which they cannot increase the volumes of imported fuel. The executive manager of the Armenian-Canadian joint venture Grand Tobacco–David Ghalumian–complained that cigarette smuggling prevents them from increasing the volumes of their production.

The minister assured the businessmen that appropriate measures have already been taken to fight against all obstacles hindering business expansion. He said the interior and national security ministries provide much needed help to the ministry.

Manukian also asked the businessmen for their support to help reveal all cases of tax evasion.

In a related development the newly appointed economy and finance minister Vardan Khachatrian stated that the priority task of his ministry will be the payment of accumulated back wages and pensions. In his words–his predecessor has managed to create necessary preconditions to resolve the issue until the end of the year.

Speaking to Armenpress the new minister said there are some sources which will allow to pay the wage arrears–but refused to disclose them.

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