Kerobian offered a rosy outlook for the Armenian economy in April as it began recovering from last year’s deep recession primarily caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m not quite happy with month-on-month economic growth in March,” he told reporters at the time. “Instead of 7-7.5 percent projected by us, only 3.8 percent [growth] was registered, according to preliminary data. But that will still be enough to ensure our double-digit economic growth by the end of this year.”
He declared that he will resign if the Armenian economy does not expand at a double-digit rate in 2021.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said in July that the economy is on course to grow by 6 percent. Earlier this month, the Central Bank of Armenia forecast a GDP growth rate of just 4.2 percent.
Kerobian was asked about his resignation pledge when he spoke with journalists on Wednesday.
“Clearly, if the prime minister or his political team is unhappy with my work they won’t wait for my resignation,” he replied.
Pashinian appointed the 45-year-old businessman as economy minister in a cabinet reshuffle in November 2020. Kerobian was the chief executive of Armenia’s largest food delivery company until then.
Kerobian has repeatedly put an optimistic spin on economic developments in the country over the past year, prompting criticism from opposition members and media commentators. He claimed on December 16 that economic growth this year has been “faster than expected” and that Armenians are now “better off than one or two years ago” despite a significant increase in the cost of living.
According to government data, annual inflation in Armenia rose to 9.6 percent in November, the highest rate in many years.