President Serzh Sarkisian hailed on Tuesday robust economic growth recorded in Armenia last year, while acknowledging that it did not have a serious impact on living standards.
Sarkisian said the Armenian economy expanded by at least 7.4 percent in 2017 as het met with Prime Minister Karen Karapetian and other senior officials to discuss the socioeconomic situation in the country.
“This is certainly a good indicator,” he said. “But we must also bear in mind that one year of strong economic growth cannot have an impact on broad sections of our society.”
The rapid growth, the president went on, should continue unabated for two or three more years before its positive effects can be felt by most Armenians. He noted in that regard that the Armenian government achieved “good economic indicators” in January as well.
The Finance Ministry made a more modest growth projection last month: 6.7 percent. It had originally forecast a 3.2 percent growth rate. It revised that target upwards to 4.3 percent in September.
Armenia’s National Statistical Service (NSS) has yet to report an official growth figure for 2017. So far it has released only detailed separate data on the performance of different sectors of the economy. In particular, Armenian industrial output rose by over 12 percent, according to the NSS.
In its five-year policy program approved by the parliament last June, Karapetian’s cabinet pledged to ensure that the domestic economy grows by around 5 percent annually. Sarkisian announced on Tuesday that his administration will finalize “within several weeks” a 12-year “strategy for Armenia’s socioeconomic development.” A statement on the meeting released by the presidential press service gave no details of that strategy.
Sarkisian will complete his second and final presidential term on April 9. He is widely expected to become prime minister and thus extend his decade-long rule.