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The Armenian government remains confident that economic growth in the country will accelerate to at least 3.2 percent this year, Finance Minister Vartan Aramian said on Thursday.

“We will make every effort to ensure that growth actually exceeds the 3.2 percent target a little,” he told reporters.

The Armenian economy grew by up to 0.5 percent last year amid a continuing recession in Russia, Armenia’s main trading partner and source of large-scale cash remittances. Prime Minister Karen Karapetian’s cabinet set the 3.2 percent growth target for 2017 in its budget approved by parliament late last year.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have forecast similar growth rates in recent weeks. The bank cautioned in a May 11 report, however, that the country’s growth outlook is susceptible to “negative impact external shocks.”

Armenia - Workers at a new textile factory in Yerevan, 20Mar2017.
Armenia - Workers at a new textile factory in Yerevan, 20Mar2017.

Hossein Samiei, a senior IMF official, said in Yerevan in April that “decisive” reforms promised by Karapetian’s government are essential for achieving faster and sustainable growth in Armenia. He said the government is committed to improving the business environment, tackling tax evasion and attracting foreign investment.

In Aramian’s words, the government expects domestic economic activity to be stimulated by at least $830 million in mostly foreign investments which it has repeatedly pledged to attract this year. The minister said that foreign direct investment already rose by 30 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Minister for Economic Development and Investments Suren Karayan stood by the ambitious pledges in separate comments to the press. “The [investment] programs that we announced are on track,” he said.

Karapetian has repeatedly stated that that his government has all but secured $3.2 billion in funding for around 350 investment projects to be implemented in Armenia in the coming years. Critics of his government are highly skeptical about that.

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