Armenian Government Expects Anti-Crisis Efforts to Bear Fruit Soon

YEREVAN (Eurasianet)–Armenian officials hope that their efforts to mitigate the effects of the global financial crisis will start showing results by the end of the year.

Armenia’s economy contracted by almost 16 percent during the first half of this year, in comparison to the same period in 2008. The government developed a three-pronged response to revive growth, including infrastructure investment, a stimulus plan for small- and medium-sized businesses, and select bailouts of large-scale enterprises.

The construction sector, which prior to the crisis was an engine for growth, has received large amounts of government assistance to help finish ongoing projects. Tax concessions have also been given to small businesses, the Arminfo news agency reported.

The country’s economic policy steward, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, said the financial crisis revealed major structural weaknesses in the economy, including a dependence on foreign remittances. The prime minister expressed confidence that the Armenian economy would turn a corner before 2010.

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