The government hopes its plan to raise pensions in Armenia by more than 10 percent in fall will help mitigate the effects of the price hike affecting the most vulnerable groups of the country’s population, the head of the State Social Security Service said on Wednesday.
At a press conference Vazgen Khachikian added that more than half a million pensioners in Armenia will get a meager raise to their pensions in November.
The official said the number of pensioners who will see their monthly pensions rise by 2,500 drams (about $6.5) makes 520,000 according to the April estimations. He added that after this new increase the minimum size of pension in the country will make 10,500 drams (about $28) a month and the average monthly pension will reach 28,500 drams (about $75).
The government earlier said it would raise the size of pensions to alleviate the social burden of pensioners following the 37.5 percent rise in natural gas prices for households on April 1. That rise has also triggered some increase in the prices of consumer goods and services.
Many pensioners in Armenia are still skeptical about government intentions and say the meager raise to their pensions will not improve their situation. They often ask government officials through media whether they, too, could live off a monthly income of only 25,000 drams (less than $65) or so.
During the press conference, Khachikian acknowledged the difficulties that pensioners in Armenia have to cope with, but countered that “thankfully, no deaths from hunger have been registered in Armenia yet, not even among pensioners.” He also disagreed with the widespread opinion among pensioners and low-income groups of the population that the salaries received by government officials in Armenia are ‘too high’.
Khachikian said that while the president and the parliament speaker receive monthly salaries of $1,050 and $790, respectively, “the expenditures of the president and members of parliament are also high.”
“Besides, we have 520,000 pensioners and only 130 members of parliament and one president,” the official added.