A member of Armenia’s pro-government faction in parliament has responded to criticism from the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party’s (BHK) leader regarding the lack of breakthrough in economy and a poor investment environment in the country.
Gagik Tsarukian, who is one of the wealthiest people in Armenia, made his critical remarks after a ceremony of inaugurating a new ceramic cookware factory near Yerevan that was also attended by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
The factory, Ceramisia, was set up as part of a joint investment project of the Tsarukian-owned Multi Group and the Italian Stoneware holding and is expected to create hundreds of jobs in Armenia’s Kotayk province.
Talking to the media, Tsarukian called for improvements in the investment climate. He also disagreed with Pashinian’s assessment that “an economic revolution is gaining momentum in Armenia.”
Responding to the BHK leader’s statements, My Step parliamentary faction member Armen Pambukhchian cited a 13-14-percent increase in next year’s budget, which he said is unprecedented for Armenia. “Isn’t a budget envisaging an additional $700 million spending [the result of] an economic revolution? I think it is the result of our program and well-regulated, coordinated and optimized work,” the lawmaker said.
The draft budget bill that the Pashinian government submitted to parliament last month calls for a sizable increase in public spending which would total 1.88 trillion drams (approximately $3.9 billion). The government’s tax revenues are projected to rise just as strongly. These targets are based on the assumption that the Armenian economy will grow by 4.9 percent in 2020.
Addressing Armenian lawmakers on October 28, Prime Minister Pashinian also said that “an economic revolution is a reality that is easy to see now.” “Huge investments are made in the Republic of Armenia,” he added, without giving numbers.
In his remarks yesterday Tsarukian also expressed dissatisfaction with conditions for investments in Armenia, saying that investors need a “one-window” approach that would facilitate “time-consuming paperwork.”
Responding to this, MP Pambukhchian said that issues with investment-related procedures are of temporary nature and a solution will be given to them soon. Meanwhile, he added, current problems, especially for large investors, can be resolved quickly through appropriate structures.
“There are bodies that can make the whole process easier,” the lawmaker said.