Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian has downplayed the impact of the falling tax revenues from large businesses in the first half of the year on the prospect of achieving overall economic growth in 2015.
Data posted last week suggested that the top 1,000 corporate taxpayers of Armenia paid over 15 percent less in taxes in January-June 2015 than during the same period last year. Some analysts rushed to question the ability of the government to ensure the expansion of the economy in conditions of decreasing taxes paid by leading businesses.
But talking to reporters while visiting Gyumri on Saturday, Prime Minister Abrahamian reaffirmed that Armenia is on track to end the year with an economic growth that the government earlier projected at 4.1 percent.
“Collecting taxes is not our ultimate goal,” Abrahamian said. “In January-June 2015 our economy registered a 4.5-percent economic growth, we have growth in all sectors, the only sector where we have a considerable decline is commodity turnover and it is directly connected with the Russian Federation,” he said.
In June, the World Bank predicted a growth rate of only 0.8 percent for Armenia. And the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for its part, said earlier that month that the country will likely post zero growth in 2015.
Both the World Bank and the IMF blamed the ongoing recession in Russia for Armenia’s worsening macroeconomic performance.
But Armenia’s prime minister warned against early assumptions and reiterated that Armenia’s economy will be more active in the second half of the year.
“I am confident that our team led by the president will do their best to ensure [our projected] economic growth,” Abrahamian stressed.
Remarkably, the head of the Armenian government had come to Gyumri together with Swiss-Armenian businessman Vartan Sirmakes, who plans a $10-million investment program for Armenia’s second largest city.