By Atom Markarian
The draft budget for 2002 envisages an increase of 21 billion drams in state revenues, to 194 billion drams in 2002. Draft amendments to the tax legislation, which were submitted with the draft budget, are aimed at redirecting into the state coffers some shadow income from different spheres of economy. The government approved those draft amendments during a cabinet meeting today.
But according to Minister for State Revenues Yervand Zakharian, the amendments are not aimed at increasing the tax burden. They will cover only the administrative part of the taxation and are aimed to simplify the relations between the taxpayer and the body in charge.
One of the most important changes, according to deputy economy minister Pavel Safarian, is an increase in the fixed taxes on liquid gas, which are lower than those for the petrol. "This is the reason why the import of petrol has fallen compared with previous years. People prefer to use gas instead of petrol because it's cheaper," Safarian explained. The minister claimed that the government intends to create equal conditions for gas and petrol importers. The Armenian economists believe that the petrol importers will gain from this amendment, which could mean that the amendment is the result of pressure exerted on the government by some influential petrol importers who have monopolized that sector.
According to the experts, an increase in the fixed taxes on liquid gas will certainly increase the prices of bus tickets, because liquid gas is a main fuel for buses and vans in Armenia.