Despite assurances from the Armenian government about continuing economic growth in the country the top local taxpayers paid some 15 percent less in taxes in the first half of this year than they did during the same period in 2014.
Whereas in January-June last year the largest 1,000 taxpayers paid a total of $801.6 million in taxes, the same figure reported for the corresponding period of 2015 is $678.7 million.
Analysts question the ability of the government to ensure the expansion of the economy this year in conditions of decreasing taxes paid by leading businesses.
In what amounted to a substantial downward revision of its earlier growth projections, Armenia’s government said earlier this month that the country’s economy will likely expand by only 1 percent this year. Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s cabinet made the forecast in a three-year budgetary spending program that it approved on July 8. The 600-page document says nothing about the reasons for the anticipated slowdown in 2015. The government had originally projected a 4.1-percent economic growth for the current year.
But Deputy Finance Minister Pavel Safarian later explained that the government has not officially revised downwards its economic growth projections for 2015.
In an interview with one of the local publications Safarian said the 1 percent growth forecast contained in the three-year budgetary spending program was a mere “baseline figure that was discussed with our international partners and the International Monetary Fund, in particular.”
Earlier, in May, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian described speculations about a possible recession in 2015 as “empty talk”.
“Some politicians or political parties want the government to fail and record an economic decline, but I am convinced that their desires will not come true and we will register economic growth,” he underscored.
Pro-opposition economist Vahagn Khachatrian says that unlike it is in developed countries, in Armenia it is not small or medium-sized enterprises, but large businesses that are the locomotives of the economy. “If taxes paid by large businesses decrease, it means that we really have problems in our economy,” Khachatrian said.