Armenian Government Approves 2010 Budget

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Armenian Finance Minister Tigran Davtyan

YEREVAN (ARKA)–The Armenian government approved on Thursday the final version of next year’s budget and is set to submit it to parliament for consideration and approval, Finance Minister Tigran Davtian told reporters.

The 2010 budget calls for 742 billion Drams in revenues, 65 billion Drams up from the initially projected target. Some 570 billion Drams are projected to be collected in taxes, which will allow the government to raise the taxes-to-GDP ratio to 17.7% instead of the earlier planned 16.6%.

The budget calls for 935 billion Drams in expenditures, an increase of 75 billion Drams from the initial target of 859 billion Drams. The deficit is projected at 193 billion Drams

He said the revised version incorporates a set of proposals and suggestions made by lawmakers during parliamentary hearings on the budget.

According to Davtian, the initial version that was being drafted in the summer underwent substantial revisions later as the macroeconomic indices were changing.

He admitted that the budget gap is relatively high, saying that the government will be working to reduce it gradually to pre-crisis levels, but noted that the budget does not include a privileged loan and a grant pledged by the European Union. If those figures are calculated, he explained, budgetary spending for next year will exceed 2009 levels.

The budget also earmarks 1.7 billion Drams to be used to compensate for depreciated Soviet-era bank deposits.

He said the government expects the economy to grow by 1.2% in 2010.

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