One of Armenia’s leading corporate taxpayers reportedly complained about increased competition in the hitherto lucrative business of fuel imports to the country at a meeting with Prime Minister Karen Karapetian on Wednesday.
Karapetian met with the top executives of ten large Armenian companies to discuss his government’s declared efforts to improve the domestic investment climate, including through a reform of tax administration. A government statement said he inquired about “obstacles” encountered by them in their dealings with tax authorities and other state bodies.
The business executives spoke about ways of simplifying taxation and customs procedures and, in that regard, complained of excessive advance payments collected from them by the State Revenue Committee. Some of them also brought up the issue of business competition, according to the statement.
“In response to a remark that the largest fuel-importing companies are making zero profits as a result of tighter competition in the diesel fuel market, Prime Minister Karapetian pointed that the competitive environment will regulate itself,” added the statement.
It did not specify who lamented the increased number of players in the business. Photographs released by Karapetian’s press service showed that there was at least one fuel tycoon among the participants of the meeting: Barsegh Beglarian.
Beglarian’s company called Flash is one of a handful of firms that have long dominated diesel and petrol imports. They are owned by government-linked individuals.
Karapetian vowed to improve the business environment and embark on other economic reforms shortly after he was appointed prime minister in September. He said last month that a new company has started importing fuel to Armenia. He claimed that “every citizen of Armenia can import any product without a hurdle.”