YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The parliament continued to discuss the draft budget for 2000 at its special meeting on March 1. The chairmen of four out of six standing commissions submitted their budget proposals.
Victor Dallakian–chairman of the National Assembly standing commission on state and legal issues–suggested reducing the expenses of state administration officials–and spending the saved funds to handle a number of social and public health problems. In particular–Dallakian suggested treating widespread cardio-vascular diseases free of charge and financing earthquake zone construction to complete it by the target date (2015).
Gagik Tadevossian–chairman of the National Assembly standing commission for social–public health and environmental affairs, suggested increasing the size of basic family allowance or completely reforming the system.
Shavarsh Kocharian–chairman of the National Assembly standing commission on education–culture and youth affairs–stated Armenia needs system changes and economic advancement. Otherwise it is senseless to speak of progress in these spheres. The commission is going to insist on 300 million drams being allocated for the purchase of property for schools providing general education. This proposal had been previously rejected by the government. The commission will request funds to be earmarked for the participation of the national team in this year’s Olympic Games.
All thirty speakers criticized the budget. It was called "a budget with a double deficit,"a solution to an arithmetical problem,"vague,"virtual,"a book-keeper’s register,"amorphous and lacking a sparkle of life," and "ordinary–routine."
Norik Petrossian of the Communist faction said he would vote against the draft budget. Aghasi Arshakian of the "Right & Unity" faction agreed with his colleague. Ruben Hakobian of the ARF’s faction suggested returning the draft for further elaboration.