By Atom Markarian
International Monetary Fund “Dutch Group” Executive Director Jerome Kremers on Thursday expressed his satisfaction with the index of economic growth registered in Armenia during the last few years.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s other large donor, the World Bank, questions in its report the statistical data posted by Armenia.
“I think its going very well. Economic growth is extremely strong. I think Armenia has now for the fifth year in a row achieved a double-digit economic growth. It can be a record showing on the world level,” the IMF official said, adding that a report about the fulfillment of the three-year-long Poverty Reduction Program will be presented to the IMF Board of Directors in November.
“I will represent Armenia in the Board and I don’t expect any problems,” said Kremers.
The Fund, however, believes that the main targets of Armenia’s economy remain increasing tax and customs collections, and especially reducing poverty in order to put the benefits of economic growth to use for everyone. The IMF will issue Armenia a preferential loan of $33 million in the next three years to foster solutions to these problems.
“Armenia should not be satisfied with its progress, and if reforms are continued, the situation here will considerable improve,” said Kremers.
To the question about the reliability of official statistics, the IMF representative said that the statistical data pertaining to Armenia’s economy fully meet their requirements. Otherwise, he said, they would not be working with Armenia.
The World Bank, however, has certain reservations as concerns Armenia’s official statistics. Recently, the Bank allegedly handed to the Armenian government a voluminous report about the economic situation in Armenia.
Although the report is still kept secret, certain evaluations from this document have already been leaked to the press.
In particular, the report allegedly challenges the statistical data of Armenia’s fuel market and chides the authorities for widespread corruption that ‘essentially hampers entrepreneurship in the country’.