Government to Invest $250 Million for Earthquake Reconstruction

YEREVAN (ARKA)–The Armenian Government will allocate $250 million for reconstruction programs in the 1988 Spitak earthquake recovery zone, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said Tuesday during a conference on construction issues in Armenia.

Ministers and leaders of authorized agencies, the Director of Yerevan State University of Architecture and Construction (YSUAC), as well as specialists and private businessmen participated in the discussions.

"These large-scale investmen’s will help restore the disaster areas," Sargsyan said, stressing the need for private investmen’s in the project.

With construction being the most powerful impetus of the country’s economic progress in the past years, it promotes development of other sectors as well, he added, citing a considerable decline in Armenia’s construction business due to the global economic crisis.

The premier stressed the importance of government assistance and its policy of boosting economic activity by opening new employment opportunities. Construction is in the government’s focus, he added.

"Our strategy in this situation is rather simple. The government must extend its expenditures to open new employment opportunities," the premier said.

International experience has shown that the most profitable investmen’s are those in infrastructure, Sargsyan said, adding new infrastructures in road construction, agriculture, irrigation and the system of drinking water are the government’s top priorities.

"No one except us can make forecasts of the sector. What are your assessmen’s and forecasts? What joint activities do you think we need to undertake to soften the impact of the global economic crisis?" the premier asked construction specialists and entrepreneurs at the conference.

Armenia’s Minister of Urban Development and head of the industrial department of the Ministry of Economy put forth his ministry’s proposals on boosting construction, followed by remarks and suggestions for the private sector.

The businessmen at the meeting discussed the current problems facing Armenia’s construction industry, noting that problems in the industry stem from a considerable reduction in experienced construction specialists, procurement of equipment, modernization of the existing industrial park and challenges in credit markets. The participants stressed the importance of revising legislation on infrastructure and construction to address the issues.

During the conference, the prime minister singled out the lack of a program for the development of construction business and insufficient professional abilities in the field. He emphasized the role of international support to retraining programs.

Sargsyan asked the ministers of economy and urban development to put together a report on the type of technical assistance necessary to promote construction so the government may enter into negotiations with interested international organizations and investors.

The two ministers are to collaborate with construction specialists to develop a program to boost construction in Armenia, Sargsyan said, asking the private sector to collaborate with the government in facing the existing challenges.

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