The newly appointed head of Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC) pledged on Thursday to ensure this year a “substantial” increase in taxes and customs duties collected by the government agency.
“I can tell you that [tax] revenues will be substantially higher than planned,” Davit Ananian told reporters after attending a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan. He did not give any numbers.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian demanded a more radical improvement of tax administration in Armenia when he presented Ananian to senior SRC officials last week. He said tax reforms carried out by the previous SRC chief, Vartan Harutiunian, are “not sufficient.”
Armenian tax revenue rose by more than 7 percent last year. The improvement was particularly visible in the national customs service, which has long been regarded as one of the country’s most corrupt government agencies. Import duties collected by the SRC soared by over 23 percent in 2017.
Ananian, who served as a deputy finance minister before taking over the SRC, acknowledged that his predecessor tackled the informal sector of the domestic economy “quite effectively.” But he said the fight against tax fraud will be tougher and “even more effective” during his tenure.
Ananian did not deny media reports that Pashinian met with wealthy businesspeople earlier this week. “I don’t know what was discussed but I received relevant instructions as a result of the discussion,” he said. “The instructions were very clear and simple: the SRC must operate within the framework of the law and there must be no privileged companies.”
Pashinian pledged to separate business from politics and de-monopolize lucrative sectors of the Armenian economy, notable commodity imports, when he took office on May 8.