Armenian tax authorities have met their revenue target for the first quarter of this year despite their misgivings about the government’s 2012 state budget, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said on Thursday.
Opening a weekly session of his cabinet, Sarkisian said the State Revenue Committee (SRC) collected 177 billion drams ($454 million) in taxes, customs duties and social security payments, a year-on-year increase of almost 4.5 percent.
“Thus, the [budgetary] program is being implemented in full and I am confident that we will keep up this tempo until the end of the year,” he said.
The 2012 budget calls for a 13 percent rise in full-year tax revenues projected to total 874.4 billion drams. That is essential for the success of government plans to increase public spending by 4 percent and at the same time cut the budget deficit to a level equivalent to 3.1 percent of GDP.
The SRC chief, Gagik Khachatrian, repeatedly described the revenue target as unrealistic late last year. Prime Minister Sarkisian and Finance Minster Vache Gabrielian dismissed Khachatrian’s objections.
Sarkisian told ministers that he is publicizing the January-March tax collection data because “there was concern over the budget’s execution.”
The budgetary targets were based on the assumption that the Armenian economy will grow by 4.2 percent this year. The International Monetary Fund forecast last week that economic growth will come in at 3.8 percent.