“Zhoghovurd” criticizes the Armenian government for splitting its Ministry for Local Government and Emergency Situations into two separate agencies, one of which will be headed soon by a representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). The paper notes that they were merged into a single ministry just over a year ago. Government officials said at the time that the merger will make them much more efficient and substantially reduce their personnel costs. “Because of that immature and arbitrary decision, many people lost their jobs and a lot of money was wasted,” says the paper. “Now turns out that it was done in vain.”
“For the sake of Dashnaktsutyun, they sacrifice efficient governance,” reads a headline in “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “If the merger of the two ministries was done with the aim of ensuring their greater efficiency, will that efficiency decrease after they are separated again?” asks the paper. “The official explanation for that step says that it is taken only because of the need for ‘political cooperation’ [with Dashnaktsutyun,] rather than good governance. So it can be concluded that in an effort to please Dashnaktsutyun and give it access to the government pie, Serzh Sarkisian is prepared to take actions that may reduce the efficiency of governance.”
“Zhamanak” says that the power-sharing deal with Sarkisian and his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) does not necessarily mean that Dashnaktsutyun will have the second largest faction in Armenia’s next parliament. The paper says that it remains unclear which Armenian party can now realistically expect to finish second (after the HHK) in next year’s parliamentary elections. Sarkisian, it says, is not only declining to guarantee Dashnaktsutyun a second place in the polls but is also gaining some leverage against the party.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian government is struggling to pay value-added tax refunds to Armenian manufacturers exporting their goods. (Armenian law exempts exports from VAT.) The government on Thursday allocated an additional 2 billion drams ($4 million) for VAT refunds to be paid in the first quarter of this year. The paper notes that the government is failing to compensate exporters on time despite the fact that Armenian exports fell last year.