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Speeches, Statements

Monday, 30 October 2017

RA Prime Minister’s speech delivered at the joint sitting of RA National Assembly Standing Commissions while presenting the RA draft law “On RA State Budget for 2018”

Dear Colleagues,

The RA 2018 State budget bill debates are starting today. I wish and I hope that there will be effective discussions. We also express our readiness to hold constructive discussions open to the public in order to find optimal solutions to all questions. I am convinced that as a result of the discussions, in 2018 we will have a budget that will best represent the interests of our country and its citizens and ensure progress in our development programs.

Taking into consideration the goals set out in the Government Program for 2017-2022, we have made changes in the fiscal policy approaches formulated in the 2018 State budget bill.

Though our fiscal policy in the mid-term horizon will continue to be limited to the need for debt sustainability, we shall implement the fiscal policy by restructuring the expenditure side, focusing on the need for capital expenditure in an effort to lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth.

The State budget bill is quite an ambitious document that will be discussed in all detail during in the sittings of National Assembly Standing Commissions. In this regard, I will not bother you by dwelling on the details, considering that over the coming days both you and the public at large will be able to get the budget bill-related comments of the Minister of Finance and other representatives of the executive branch. At the same time, I would like to emphasize some of the underlying points of the draft budget.

1. Over the last few years, Armenia’s economy has been characterized by negative shocks coming from the outer world, which have resulted in a low level of economic growth and gradually reduced the potential for economic growth. Although the current developments are encouraging, the bases for economic growth are still not strong enough to claim a long-term high economic growth. In 2017, a budget framework was established that defines economic stabilization. As to the budget framework of 2018, we have planned a fiscal policy that will determine the future developments in the economy.

In other words, the proposed fiscal policy will build up the groundwork for ensuring an average of 5% economic growth in the future, which will enable us to effectively address the challenges we face in terms of sustainable long-term development, and the threats of social character. The achievement of this indicator calls for huge efforts and extensive work.

2. The State budget expenditure policy will be based on clear-cut guidelines aimed at ensuring economic growth, the country’s security and social orientation. This policy will help enhance the country’s attractiveness, and build a solid foundation for sustainable long-term and secure development.

3. Our revenue policy will be balanced both from the perspective of curbing the shadow economy and from the point of view of improving the business environment. The emphasis is placed on the formation of the bases of an effective revenue system that will ensure sustainable growth of tax receipts against the GDP growth as specified in the Government Program.

These discussions are a good opportunity to explore together one of our most important documents, and I am confident that we will use this opportunity to work effectively, pragmatically and rationally to get the best possible outcome for our country and citizens.
Once again, I wish all of us a productive work and a good mood.

Thank you.