Darbinian Outlines Ministerial Tasks

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Prime Minister Armen Darbinian deemed three members of the new cabinet as especially compatible with his mentality and principles regarding government. These "team partners," as he described them–are Economy and Finance Minister Edward Sandoyan–Minister of Postal Service and Telecommunications Artak Vardanian and Minister of Economic and Structural Reforms Vahram Avanessian.

"The intellectual level of the new cabinet is incomparably high," said Darbinian–adding that professionalism had not always been a priority when forming previous governmen’s.

Darbinian said that among the tasks of the Ministry of Economy and Finance is to find a solution to problems of financial control–something that he himself had not had the time to do as Economy and Finance Minister. In particular–the Prime Minister said–there is a need to ensure full tax collection and better budget spending.

Avanessian–whom Darbinian described as "an ace professional," has been appointed Economic and Structural Reforms Minister to coordinate the country’s economic reform. Avanessian will only have a small staff–not an entire ministry staff.

Even though Garnik Nanagulian will continue as Minister of Industry and Trade–Darbinian said the ministry is in need of some changes. He said the ministry should promote a favorable investment atmosphere both for state-run and private companies.

Darbinian said that the dismissal of Energy Minister Gagik Martirossian–who has experience in handling difficult energy issues–involves certain risks–even though the country has overcome its energy crisis. Armenia now has the most disciplined energy system in the region. Darbinian said that the Ministry should minimize losses–take a firm line on violations of law as well as promote the introduction of a clearing settlement system.

The Ministry of Privatization–said Darbinian–should both register and manage state property. He expressed optimism that Minister Pavel Kaltakhchian–who remains in office–will be able to handle the issue.

According to Darbinian–the elevation of the Statistics Department to the status of Ministry testifies to its important role under current circumstances. Describing the new minister–Stepan Mnatsakanian–as an experienced specialist–Darbinian suggested that the ministry not only register current conditions but also set long-term objectives for itself.

Saying that reform in the public health sector had failed–Darbinian ordered Minister Gagik Stamboltsian–who has been in office for less than a year–to improve the situation as soon as possible. Darbinian instructed Felix Pirumian–who will continue as Urban Developlement Minister–to solve the driniking water supply problems–and ordered the new Minister of Social Welfare Gagik Yeganian to intriduce the system of familiy allowances.

"I think that the basic principles of political democracy–economic liberalism and social security that had been laid down as the foundation of our statehood and defense–will be become even stronger," Darbinian concluded.


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