Prime Minister Introduces New Customs Chief

YEREVAN (Armenpress)-Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan Thursday stressed that Armenia’s success hinges on the success of its Custom’s Agency as he introduced the country’s new Customs Chief to his staff, reported the Government Press Office.

"I want you all to realize this responsibility and the fact that your success is Armenia’s success," Sargsyan said.

He said new Customs Chief, Gagik Khachatrian, would work reduce red tape, decrease the obstacles that hinder the development of entrepreneurship and make the Customs Agency competitive, and acceptable for Armenian businessmen and citizens alike.

Sargsyan stressed the imperative of making these changes, explaining that Armenia is a small country that needs all the competitive advantage it can get.

"We are a small country with imports and exports volumes growing with every year. This means that the State Customs Committee should change its work with every passing year too to ensure permanent provision of quality services," he said.

Armenia’s economic future depends greatly on the efficiency and quality of the Customs Committee’s work as there is no other alternative, he said, noting that the quality of Armenian customs services should become the best in the region and comply with the highest international standards.

"You are on the frontlines and how you conduct your work shapes the attitudes of Armenia’s taxpayers towards the state, he told the staff of the Customs Agency. "People’s discontent with their authorities will lead to the loss of trust in government and this is very dangerous."

"We believe that Mr. Gagik Khachatrian is capable of enforcing these reforms," the prime minister said, noting that during his tenure as Deputy Chief of the Customs Agency, Khachatrian worked to enforce reforms and ensure the agency’s effective operation.

The prime minister said that the new chief of the Customs Agency will receive all the assistance he needs to fulfill his goals. Sargsyan also introduced the new deputy chief of the Customs Agency, Artak Shaboyan.

"Although Mr. Shaboyan is relatively young, he nevertheless has gained broad experience. He is a researcher lecturing at the French University of Armenia and at the Armenian Economy University. He also worked for years for the Central Bank and has acquired experience to supervise processes and make macroeconomic analyses. He possesses broad knowledge and skills which are necessary for enforcing the planned reforms," the Prime Minister said.

The prime minister also referred to allegations that many government officials, including Khachatrian, run their own businesses and that they abuse their power for their own personal ends. He said this is an important issue that is very much on the government’s radar.

"We are working to remove such a demeanor from government officials and at the same time our goal is to protect all honest and fair officials," he said, adding that the only way to do so is to ensure transparency.

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