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Protesting Traders Claim Fresh Government Concessions


Armenia - Small business owners continue to demonstrate outside the government building in Yerevan, 30Jan2015.

Armenia - Small business owners continue to demonstrate outside the government building in Yerevan, 30Jan2015.

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian on Friday reportedly agreed to again make major concessions to scores of small business owners demonstrating against controversial new taxation rules introduced by his government.

Abrahamian met with representatives of the protesters as they again rallied outside his office in Yerevan. The protest leaders were satisfied with the two-hour meeting, telling the crowd that he essentially agreed to meet their demands.

“From what I understood, Mr. Abrahamian is on our side,” said one of them.

“The prime minister specifically agreed to discuss and revise [the law,]” said another participant of the meeting. He added that the premier will again meet with the traders’ representatives on Sunday to present concrete solutions relating to Armenia’s law on turnover tax levied from small firms and self-employed entrepreneurs with an annual revenue of up to 58 million drams ($122,000).

The law was amended in October to require those entities to show tax officials documentary evidence of their transactions with wholesale suppliers. The government has said that this will make it much harder for large-scale Armenian importers of goods to evade taxes.

The affected traders say that they cannot comply with this requirement because the suppliers routinely refuse to give them receipts. A series of demonstrations staged by them in September and October already forced Abrahamian to postpone the enforcement of the law until February 1.

The government did not confirm or deny fresh concessions which the protesters say were promised by the premier.

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