Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian promised on Friday that his newly formed government will act fast to improve Armenia’s business environment with measures hurting his wealthy cronies and other entrepreneurs close to the ruling elite.
Abrahamian said “equal conditions for everyone” are critical for achieving more rapid economic growth, which he described as the government’s top priority.
“We will not hesitate to hurt people close to us and cause them pain,” he told journalists. “We have no other option. Everybody, including people close to me, must understand that. I will start from myself.”
Abrahamian, who was named prime minister a month ago, did not specify the concrete reforms planned by him. The new government has yet to publicize its policy program to be debated by the Armenian parliament later this month.
Abrahamian gave similar assurances when he met with the leadership of Armenia’s largest business association on April 19. He said the new government will create a level playing field for all businesses and prevent their harassment by tax authorities.
The composition of his cabinet formed in the following weeks only fuelled more skepticism in the Armenian media and opposition and expert circles about the promised reforms. Abrahamian and several of his ministers are wealthy individuals who have developed extensive business interests while holding senior government positions.
Also, the new premier is also thought to be close to some government-linked tycoons controlling lucrative sectors of the Armenian economy.