Rustam Badasian, the head of the State Revenue Committee (SRC), said his agency collected almost 1.59 trillion drams ($3.3 billion) in various taxes and duties. It thus surpassed the revenue target set by Armenia’s 2021 state budget by 146 billion drams ($304 million), Badasian said during a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.
Speaking at the meeting, Finance Minister Tigran Khachatrian said the surplus allowed the government to spend an additional 85 billion drams this year. In particular, he said, it doubled economic assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh to 128 billion drams ($267 million).
Overall government spending thus reached 1.94 trillion drams ($4 billion). It is projected to increase by nearly 13 percent in 2022.
The 2022 state budget calls for a sharper rise in the government’s tax revenue. That would cut the budget deficit that widened considerably last year to a deep recession primarily caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a resulting shortfall in tax revenue.
The Armenian economy contracted by 7.4 percent in 2020 before returning to growth this spring. It was projected to grow by at least 4.2 percent in 2021.
Tax collection improved as a result of the renewed growth as well as the government’s continued fight against tax evasion. In Badasian’s words, the number of the country’s officially registered workers paying taxes increased by over 7 percent, to 654,000, in the course of the year.