Senior government officials and businessmen comprising a consultative body charged with improving the investment climate gathered for a regular meeting on Monday to discuss ways of removing obstacles to entrepreneurial activity in Armenia. The Business Support Council, chaired by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, focused on legal and administrative barriers facing private firms operating in Armenia, participants said.
According to one of them, Valeri Mejlumian, chief executive of the Mannes & Valex cooper smelter, the meeting identified two dozen business-related problems which the government should seek to address. He told RFE/RL that the meeting, which lasted for more than three hours, also discussed a new bill on private investments currently drafted by ministers.
Mejlumian said that a better investment climate is particularly important in the wake of a major international conference in New York on investment opportunities in Armenia. He said the authorities must prove their stated commitment to foreign investment with practical steps. Markarian pledged among other things to rule out further delays in the payment of value-added tax rebate to Armenian exporters -- one of the key demands of Mannes & Valex.
The council's 12 seats are evenly split between members of Markarian's cabinet and leading Armenian entrepreneurs.