By Armen Zakarian
The Armenian government has met its third-quarter revenue target for customs revenues despite a worse-than-expected performance of tax authorities, officials said on Tuesday. The government’s customs department announced that it has collected 21 billion drams ($38 million) in various import duties over the past three months, slightly higher than was projected.
The head of the department, Armen Avetisian, said the revenues were secured with “great difficulty.” Avetisian told reporters that his agency will meet its annual target of 83 billion drams.
Import duties on fuel and tobacco provide most of the government’s customs revenues, which in turn account for nearly half of the overall budget revenues. The latest figures were released against the backdrop of recent months’ disappointing collection of taxes. The ministry for state revenues, the government’s tax collecting body, has reportedly fallen short of its third-quarter target of 17 billion drams by more than ten percent.
The shortfall has already led the World Bank to postpone the release of the second $15 million tranche of a vital deficit-funding loan to Armenia. Sources say the money will not be made available at least until the end of this month.