President Serzh Sarkisian met with the members of Armenia’s newly reshuffled government on Thursday, saying that their main task is to improve “the effectiveness of governance” and the socioeconomic situation in the country.
“I am convinced that … we can and must manage our modest resources in a better and more rational way and to achieve much better results,” Sarkisian told Prime Minister Karen Karapetian and his minsters just before a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.
“I trust in you and believe that this government of Armenia can do what all previous governments did not manage to do,” he said.
Sarkisian cited the need to ease economic hardship in Armenia through more radical reforms when he announced on September 8 his decision to replace Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian by Karapetian, a longtime business executive. He said the new cabinet should focus on the domestic business environment. Karapetian pledged afterwards to embark on such “systemic” changes.
Nine of the 18 members of Karapetian’s cabinet did not hold ministerial posts in the previous government. The newcomers include the ministers of defense, finance, economy, energy and agriculture.
The new Finance Minister Vartan Aramian said on Tuesday that living standards in Armenia will rise if the domestic economy grows by at least 4 percent annually. Economic growth in the country is expected to be slower this year and in 2017.
In its latest World Economic Outlook released this week, the International Monetary Fund forecast a GDP growth rate of 3.2 percent for Armenia in 2016. It said the growth should accelerate to 3.4 percent in 2017.