“The new finance minister [Vartan Aramian] says that Armenia’s sovereign debt has increased by about $900 million in the last three years,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “That is very dangerous. But we are going to borrow more in 2017.” The paper wonders why the government wants to secure more foreign loans if it has no plans to raise pensions or public sector salaries next year. It claims that pension hikes have a more positive impact on the economy than infrastructure projects financed by international lending institutions. It also alleges that at least half of the loans are embezzled by government officials and their cronies. “Clearly, the new government is choosing the latter option,” concludes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.”
“It is evident that [Prime Minister Karen] Karapetian will have to walk a political tightrope in order to solve economic issues,” writes “Zhamanak.” “On one side of [that rope] is Russia and on the other the West.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Karapetian’s government will discuss the sacking of Suren Khachatrian, the notorious governor of Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province, when it meets on Thursday. The paper says the government is considering replacing Khachatrian by Vahe Hakobian, the chief executive of a large mining enterprise operating in Syunik. It notes that another individual connected to the mining giant was already appointed Syunik governor after Khachatrian was sacked in 2011 following a deadly shooting outside his villa in Goris, his Syunik hometown.