By Atom Markarian
The Armenian authorities have collected 61.7 billion drams ($112 million) worth of taxes and duties in the first five months of the year, 20 percent more than during the same period last year, Minister for State Revenues Andranik Manukian announced on Friday. He said his agency is on track to meet its first-half target of 78.2 billion drams.
The release of the latest figures follows conflicting press reports about the actual amount of revenues secured by Manukian’s ministry for the cash-strapped government budget. Some newspapers reported a further drop in the tax figures after the disappointing April results.
But Manukian insisted at a news conference that the tax authorities, which have posted major gains since last December continue to improve their record. He said the ministry’s worse-than-expected performance has been offset by the May figures that show nearly two billion drams in extra revenues to the budget.
Manukian, himself a major taxpayer, also pledged to continue his stated crackdown on the huge informal sector of the Armenian economy “step by step.” A wealthy businessman who was heavily wounded in the 1999 attack on the parliament, he has been accused by some fellow entrepreneurs of frequently resorting to illegal measures to fill state coffers. Manukian on Friday again denied the allegations.