The Armenian government on Thursday approved two more assistance programs aimed at stimulating businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest aid packages are designed for tourism and agriculture, Economy Minister Tigran Khachatrian said.
He said that so far this year revenues in the tourism sector of Armenia have fallen twice as compared to the same period of 2019. The minister stressed that the fresh government assistance will focus not only on hotels and tour operators, but also on the public catering sector.
“As a result of financial difficulties caused by the pandemic, companies have faced significant difficulties in maintaining the assets necessary for continuing their business. The purpose of this support is to help companies operating in this field to keep staffs and promote job increases,” Khachatrian said.
During today’s government session Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and members of his cabinet discussed at length whether companies breaking anti-epidemic measures set by the authorities or evading taxes by not issuing cash register receipts to their customers should be deprived of pandemic-related government aid.
Pashinian called for a more responsible business behavior, stressing that those who evade taxes “steal food from soldiers.”
After discussions the government decided that support should be denied to businesses that do not provide customers with cash register receipts.
The other aid program approved by the government today is aimed at supporting alcohol producers so that they can procure grapes.
“The coronavirus pandemic has affected the activities of brandy and wine companies both on the domestic market and on the main foreign markets. Demand for their products has fallen, which has also affected sales,” Economy Minister Khachatrian explained.
At the start of the coronavirus-related lockdown in March the Armenian government pledged at least 150 billion drams (about $300 million) for aid packages to businesses and citizens affected by the pandemic as well as post-crisis stimulation of the economy.