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Official News

Monday, 5 March 2018

“Our growth rate in the coming years should be higher than that of the region, EAEU, CIS, and the average global growth rate” - Karen Karapetyan Takes Note of Aragatsotn Marz Performance Report

On March 3, Karen Karapetyan traveled to Aragatsotn Marz of Armenia to get acquainted with the activities and priorities completed in 2017, as well as the tasks set for 2018.

Governor of Aragatsotn Marz Ashot Simonyan reported that the share of his Marz in the gross national product is 3%; industrial output was AMD 39.4 billion in 2016, 35.9 billion - in 2017, which makes 280 thousand drams in terms of per capita income.

According to the Governor, the gross agricultural output rose to 89.1 billion drams in 2017 against 87 billion drams in 2016. Per capita income was 693.4 thousand drams which is 2.3 times higher than the national average.

Trade turnover in the region in 2017 amounted to 16.9 billion drams, which is 1.9 billion drams higher than in 2016, of which 131.6 thousand drams per capita. The volume of services last year made 10.9 billion drams; the share of each local resident was 85.5 thousand drams.

The growth amounted to 1.7 billion drams as compared with 2016. The volume of construction in 2017 amounted to 26.2 billion drams, which is 1.46 times higher than the national average. The growth here was 3.6 billion drams. In 2017, the export volume amounted to 4.6 billion drams, which is 3 billion drams less than in 2016. In 2017, investment programs worth 26.2 billion drams were implemented in Aragatsotn, which is 6 billion drams more than in 2016.

Ashot Simonyan underlined that according to the annual work plan of 2018, it is envisaged to invest over 35.2 billion drams. 350 jobs were created owing to the aforementioned investments. It is expected that 600 permanent jobs will be created this year.

According to the Governor, the private sector invested 6.5 billion drams in 2017. investment of 20.4 billion drams is expected this year in milk and dairy production, fruit and vegetable processing and dropping, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, diamond processing, textile industry, mining, tourism and other spheres.

Ashot Simonyan said there are 54100.3 hectares of arable land in the region, of which about 40-50% are used annually. According to the Governor, the main reason for not using part of the arable land is that the plots are far away from settlements, rocky, as well as the difficulties of irrigation.

From 28,000 hectares of arable land 14,000 hectares were irrigated in 2017. It is envisaged to increase the coverage of irrigated land in 2018 to 400 hectares by renovating irrigation water supply lines and establishing intensive orchards. In the course of 2017, 11 hectares of intensive orchards were established. Intensive orchards make up 30 hectares at this point of time. At the same time, Ashot Simonyan emphasized that only 120 hectares of intensive orchards will be set up in the region in 2018. 3 hectares of greenhouses will be commissioned in Ashtarak and Voskevaz communities in 2018. A total of 14 units of modern agricultural machinery were acquired under the leasing program in 2017, and 15 units are expected to be purchased during this year. The possibility of establishing regional farm machinery stations is under discussion.

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan welcomed the progress of programs in the field of agriculture, appreciating the steps aimed at boosting the exports. At the same time, the Head of Government urged to pay greater attention to the development of the livestock sector, emphasizing that there are no market-related bottlenecks. Karen Karapetyan urged those responsible to carry out smart planning for 2018 and clarify statistical data.

“We need the actual statistics. We should not inflate the figures. The horizon, the plan we are setting, has to be set to the maximum, and 95-97% performance will be much more welcome than 120% as we understand that we have had a low burden on planning because our next year’s growth rate. Our growth rate in the coming years should be higher than that of the region, EAEU, CIS, and the average global growth rate,” the Prime Minister said.

It was reported that in 2017, actual revenue in the local budgets amounted to 3,708,229 thousand drams, which is 99.1% of the planned annual target. Own revenues amounted to 1,237,073.2 thousand, or 98 percent performance. In 2017, own revenues increased by 218,211.9 thousand drams as compared to 2016. Ashot Simonyan noted that in 2018, the total revenue of local budgets are projected at AMD 3,916,523.4 thousand and own revenues – at 1,433,169.1 thousand drams. The total sum of community own revenues in 2018 is forecast to be 171,397.3, thousand, or 23% more than in 2017.

According to the Governor, the number of landfills registered in the province is 136, 124 of which have been closed. Another landfill is to be closed. The number of garbage disposal contracts signed with economic entities was 634 in 2017. In 2018, the number of contracts is expected to reach 1400. In 2017, garbage collection fees amounted to 47.4 million drams, and expenditures - 154 million drams.

In 2018, revenues from garbage collection will be 130 million drams, and expenditure - 146 million drams. Garbage collection costs accounted for 90% of garbage disposal costs. These funds will be collected in the form of local payments and provide for self-sufficiency, which will not be an extra burden on communities’ own budgets.

Karen Karapetyan expressed satisfaction with the work being done in the field of waste management and went on to underline that the funds provided by the State as subsidies will be possible to direct the implementation of other projects in communities, including the improvement of infrastructures.

Ashot Simonyan advised that a 20% increase in paid medical services was recorded in 2017. Paid services amounted to 121.9 million drams in the period under review, or 7.3% of the annual budget. The budget of the healthcare facilities was AMD 1,453,662 thousand in 2018, which is 5.6% less than in 2017.

Taking into consideration the optimization works carried out in the medical institutions in 2017, it is envisaged to ensure a sharp growth in paid services up to 170.7 million drams, or about 40% in the current year.

As a result of the optimization, AMD 63.4 million was saved in Ashtarak and Tsaghkahovit MCs that will be used to repay the debts accumulated over the past few years, as well as to make capital expenditures and purchase medical equipment.

Pleased with the activities carried out in healthcare activities, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that they would help improve the quality of services provided.

The head of the local education department informed that there are 117 schools in the region, 116 thousand pupils, 2266 teachers, and the school optimization program is in process resulting in considerable savings.

“Optimization is not an end in itself but an opportunity to effectively use resources. The savings should be funneled toward other educational programs and should enhance the quality of education,” Karen Karapetyan noted.

The meeting also discussed issues related to finding non-standard solutions for inter-community road rehabilitation, tourism and other issues.

March 2019