Armenia’s New System for Pension Delivery Fails on First Run

YEREVAN–Hay Post Outlet # 0054 has been grappling with a daily torrent of angry pensioners since January 4 when the Armenian Ministry of Social Welfare officially transferred the responsibility of issuing pensions to Armenia’s national post operator.

Until now, pensions were hand-delivered in Yerevan to the homes of pensioners–a system long in need of reform over widespread allegations that agents delivering the checks extorted illegal fees from pensioners.

The change was hoped by many to result in a more efficient system of issuance but has since been met with ire from pensioners unable to collect their monthly cash allowances.

The problem stems largely from Hay Post’s inability to meet the large volume of pensioners. Out of 140,000 pensioners in Yerevan, 120,000 receive their checks from Hay Post, but there are only two offices commissioned to issue the checks. Hay Post operates a total of 900 offices throughout the country.

The complications have caused many in Yerevan to wait in long lines, day after day, only to leave with instructions to wait at home for their pensions.

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6 Comments

  1. Karekin said:

    Dear Asbarez Editor and Readers;

    Please note that in this article reference is made to “Dutch-managed national post operator”. This is not correct. No Dutch entity manages HayPost. Please issue an “Erretum”. Thank you.

    • Allen Yekikan said:

      @Karekin, Please see the quoted text from the HayPost website…

      “On November 30, 2006, the Dutch Haypost Trust Management B.V. was given the responsibility to operate Haypost. The purpose of the Trust Management is to make Haypost increasingly commercial, transparent, efficient and accountable for its customers in Armenia and abroad. Finally, the HayPost Trust Management will establish Haypost as a world class postal and financial services operator.” – http://www.haypost.am/view-lang-eng-page-25.html

      • Hans Boon said:

        On 18 July 2008 the Trust Management was transferred by the Government of Armenia for a period of 5 years to the Argentine group of companies owned by Mr. E. Eurnekian, who is of Armenian descent and well-known, and which group also owns e.g. Converse Bank, which operated the Trust management in 2005. Therefore it remains unclear why most of the press keeps talking about the Dutch. These facts have been widely covered in 2008 in the Armenian news sources, as well as why and how the Dutch left. News sources have also reported that HayPost has signed an extensive cooperation agreement in 2010 with La Poste of France. The fact that the website of Haypost has not yet been fully updated in this respect may be a reason for Armenian newsreporters to further inquire and look at the recent progress achieved in modernizing HayPost into transparent and accountable performance- based on the data and accounts publicly available- as well as into the plans. The Dutch involvement was based on a development program within a framework of poverty reduction and rural development and financial sector development and small trade promotion. HayPost was to develop in providing financial, digital and social inclusion to the Armenian poor and last-mile remittance delivery, as well as to provide quality postal services. Significant progress in improvements have been realised between 2006 and 2008, but given the conditions and environment not at the pace desired . Asbarez Post fullfils an essential role in contributing to the publicity and freedom of press, the current pension payment problems- which are not new. In other transition economies , the quasi soviet monopoly of the Post in pension payments has been or is being replaced by a Postbank operating under fair competition, and e.g. providing pre-paid cash cards, or easy and affordable accounts to the low income segments. It also happens in Armenia’s neighbouring countries, Poland, Romania, India, or e.g. South Africa. The Armenian press has also covered in 2010 press announcements about plans of HayPost to modernize 250 post offices in the next 5 years. The glass is “half full” , or “half empty”- as the question could be: what is planned for the other 650 post offices that are located in rural areas serving the poorest communities. Will these offices remain to operate with an abacus and a candle light ? With reference to your recent article “Living in Armenia: the battle of poverty and prosperity”, the answer to the question is one that needs to be given by Armenians in Armenia – and I wish Asbarez and other media courage in helping to ” push HayPost’s envelope” with its development message to the right address.

  2. Norin Radd said:

    Mi hat karkin menk hayeres chenk karoxanum postal service kasmakerpenk yev heto zarmanoomenk vor inchu mer yerkire eis pes vichaki mech e. Why is a DUTCH company managing ARMENIAN mail in the first place? Ay esher, ay kentaniner, ay davarner, yerp ek mart darnalu, yerp ?!?!

  3. Aram Gareginyan said:

    It’s very true that postmen used to solicit extras from pensioners. But the State, as it does more than often, has traded bad for worse. It would be unwise to think that the Post has no means against its unlawful postmen and cannot bring them to order otherwise.

    As to the upgrading of post offices, they are first refurbished in Yerevan and large cities (last year they did it in Kapan, matching it to the visit of the President). Renovated rural offices are yet to be celebrated.

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