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Armenian PM Vows ‘Much Faster’ Reform In 2012


Armenia - Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian is interviewed by RFE/RL's Armenian service, 30Dec2011.

Armenia - Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian is interviewed by RFE/RL's Armenian service, 30Dec2011.

In a year-end interview, Sarkisian also reiterated the government’s pledge to make the May 2012 parliamentary elections the most democratic in Armenia’s history.

“We must do everything to hold the best elections in our post-Soviet history and make them as calm as possible so that our citizens do not feel any difficulty or trouble in their day-to-day life,” he said.

“The best way for the government to hold free and fair elections and win a vote of confidence from our citizens is to implement our reforms much faster,” he said. “Reforms as a result of which the life of our citizens will become comfortable.”

“The business environment must be improved. In that regard, the results of 2011 are encouraging,” Sarkisian added, citing a recent World Bank survey that said the investment climate in Armenia has improved over the past year.

The global survey noted less cumbersome procedures for starting a business, paying taxes and receiving construction permits. Still, Armenia was ranked 153rd out of 183 countries surveyed in terms of the quality of tax administration.

“There have been some improvements in the business environment but still we think that much more needs to be done,” a senior official from the International Monetary Fund said earlier this month.

Sarkisian has pledged to create a level playing field for all businesses and improve tax collection throughout his nearly four-year tenure. He has initiated numerous changes in Armenian taxation laws and practices

“I am convinced that those reforms will be more tangible for businesspeople in 2012,” the prime minister insisted on Friday.

Speaking about other challenges that will face his government in 2012, Sarkisian stressed the need to keep up economic growth and help Armenians “learn to live in a rapidly changing world.”

“We are obliged to create an environment that will enable our citizens to be prepared to live in a rapidly changing world,” he said. “That means knowledge, skills, capacity and opportunities.

“We must put the emphasis on creating opportunities for our citizens. To what extent will they make use of those opportunities? That’s a different issue.”
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