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Official News

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The Speech of Tigran Sargsyan, the Prime Minister of the RoA at the National Assembly of RoA, at the Presentation of the Program for 2008-2012 of the Government of RoA


Honorable Chairman of the National Assembly,



Dear Deputies, Ladies and Gentlemen,



The New Government of the Republic of Armenia presents its program and according to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia raises the issue of confidence vote.



The Government's Program has been developed taking into account provisions of the Republic of Armenia National Security Strategy and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and incorporates the main provisions of the election programs of the Republic of Armenia President, the Republican Party of Armenia, the Prosperous Armenia Party, the Orinats Erkir Party and the ARF "Dashnaktsutyun." and provisions of the political coalition agreement.



The leaders of coalition parties voiced about problems accumulated in our country during electoral campaigns and public speeches.



The problems are; the split of the society, unhealthy moral and psychological environment, significant proportion of the shadow economy, corruption, outrage of officials, unfair competition, poverty, ect;



The political leaders raised the issue; the task of the new Government is to present acceptable solutions through this program.



Let me present the existence framework within which our program has been built.



1. We live in a fast changing world and while implementing reforms need to anticipate upcoming changes and harmonize them with fast changing modern world trends of,



2. We should not duplicate the experience of the developed countries, but rather study it and consider the future. We live in quickly downsizing world, which means that the impacts of modern world on our lives are getting stronger day by day,



3. We should be able to protect ourselves from the negative effects and create broader opportunities for the necessary and desired cooperation we need,



4. Intellectual work is the basic processes of a modern world. It means that for us the economy and society should be knowledge based. Intellect and information are the primary resources of development.



5. Preservation of spiritual and cultural values becomes the sole reliable guarantee for nation's sustainability. Coexistence task for states in 21st century enters into dialogue of civilizations and competition level.



6. The recognized need of a modern individual is the self-expression and self-realization. We have to ensure opportunities for realization of freedom..



Thus, five conceptualization pillars of our program are. First; we need fast pace in this rapidly changing world, second; security in rapidly downsizing world; third, knowledge based economy and society, fourth; preservation of spiritual and cultural values, fifth; ensuring the basic freedoms of a modern individual. The pillars of our program are based on atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. The President of the country in his speech called for "We should not split, we should not raise walls between the parts of our nation, we should not be indifferent to the concerns and suffering of others, we should not get beyond of accessibility to each other. Even if there is a wall of misunderstanding between us ... let's destroy it", We deeply believe that the only way to overcome the divide in nation is the mutual hard work.



The submitted program should be accepted not only by the Coalition, the National Assembly, the Government but by the public at large as well. The road to it is getting every citizen to participate in the implementation process. What behavior will adopt the Government?



We are a fair-minded nation. It is the key and the most important characteristics of our nation. Even if we treat unfairly the last scoundrel ever, our people will protest against the injustice. Thus, we will not be looking for past circumstances that split us, but in our vision of the future discover the ideas to bring us together. We ourselves will reveal our shortcomings and deficiencies, and we will speak about them publicly. We have to be tough, daring and fair, we have to preach unanimity and collaboration.



The President formulated precondition for the effectiveness of Government as "The key prerequisite of the development of our country is the spiritual unanimity of our nation-formation of an atmosphere of mutual respect, cooperation and trust. The best formulation of this approach derived from Nerses Shnorhali: "Unanimity-in the most important, freedom in-secondary, and love in anything". Essentially this is the spiritual base for building a democratic civil society".



We will encourage the constructive criticism, meanwhile the destructive anti-state acts will be submitted to the judgment of people and the law. Without a civil supervision and dialogue there cannot be a healthy, national and constructive power. We are introducing a new work ethics of working with the mass media. If we want to have responsible mass media, we must have a responsible Government in the first place.



Negative, sound public phenomenons and their criticism should not skip from our attention. We will respond to the criticism, we will hold responsible those who are guilty, but we will protect honest officials from blackmail and lies. Given that, we will set legal grounds that will be in line with the best European practices and standards. This is our principal approach.



We came together as one united team for implementation of ambitious programs. An active economic policy continues to be the most important pillar of the further development of the country.



The key priorities for the Government will be:



First:



maintenance of macroeconomic stability and high rates of economic growth. The Government will have essential, but restricted role in the economy by creating a favorable environment for the development of private sector. We will continue with the implementation of such a macroeconomic policy that suggests low inflation rates, low budget deficit and floating exchange rates. Our final goal is the significant economic growth, and the macroeconomic stability is a way leading to the attainment of that goal. The Government has set up an ambitious goal- to turn Armenia into a "Center of Excellence" for regional business development and investments.



The geopolitical location of Armenia creates objective limitations for entrepreneurship, making it costly. Compared to neighboring countries, we have to create and offer more attractive institutional environment.



What does that mean?



- Our air and land transportation should cost less;



- Our telecommunication systems all over Armenia should be more accessible and affordable;



- We have to eliminate red tape in doing business, and we have to reduce the number of unjustified requests, high costs and long timelines for issuing licenses, permissions for starting a business;



- We have to simplify the tax system, and provide for the online filing of tax returns;



- We have to reduce the number of check ups by achieving improved quality;



- We have to achieve a qualitatively new standards in the customs system and finally close the issue of bureaucratic wrongdoings that hinder the competitiveness;



- And lastly, we will reduce the tax burden.



 



Second priority is the social integration and consolidation. We have to address the issue of poverty for good. The shortest way for that is the active involvement of the poor in the economic and civil activities. We will also focus our attention on the gap that exists still from the past years between the average pensions and average wages, which has resulted in a significant gap of living standards of the employed citizens and the retired pensioners (including also the disabled). The Government will gradually increase the pensions, and it will be 1,5 times above the poverty threshold. Parallel to this, the Government will continue to work towards introduction of a multilevel retirement schemes, including also the introduction of accrual pension benefits system.



We have to increase the efficiency of budget allocations seeking to mitigate the social tension.



The family allowances system needs improvements in terms of re-conceptualization and targeting the needy, so that only those needy get enrolled in the system, and the recipients of the allowance do not feel stigmatized and humiliated.



To ensure a public consolidation, it is required that the well-off people revise their living habits. In a country where there exists poverty, it is disgraceful for a Christian Armenia to show off his wealth, luxury and power.



The third priority is the development of human capital. We are fully aware that without a human capital development we will simply fail all our programs of moving forward.



Education:



The modernization of the Republic of Armenia is not possible without the effective educational system in place;



The educational reforms will be based upon the principles of Lisbon declaration. Let me enumerate the major ones:



The Republic of Armenia should be build upon strong universities, we are heading towards a knowledge based society and we have to have such an educational system that will provide for employees of who will form our future;



We have to reshape our mentality, which is we have to recognize that education is ongoing for the entire life. Living in a modern world without ongoing education is impossible and the Government presents to your judgment its Concept on ongoing education.



We have to provide for the link between the educational institutions and research centers, if we separate the science from educational institutions, then they both suffer - the science and the education.



We will ensure that there is direct link between the educational institutions and business world. The education system will have innovative trends and the Government will support it in any possible manner.



The educational institutions have to be in a direct continues contact with the public and provide for the accessibility of their achievements in the fields of research and development.



The Government will create exclusive opportunities for the youth to study in the prestigious schools of the world.



"Attaining high quality education in 21st century is attaining a high standards of living".



Health care:



We are switching to introduction of a new health care concept. The quality and accessibility of the health care services offered by our health care institutions should match the best international standards. Armenia has to become a regional health center.



Health services provided to the vulnerable families or those with limited possibilities will be funded through insurance policies.



The Government will support the development voluntary insurance systems of life and health.



The Government will introduce a new information-technological system, which will include also an electronic register, provide the patients medical history in an electronic form, also the medical prescriptions. The introduction of this system will increase the effectiveness of the patients' treatment, will minimize the number of human errors of the medical personnel, and will allow for a more optimal and transparent funding, enabling to supervise the allocation of the medication to the targeted patients.



Culture:



Strengthening the basis of our national culture, overcoming the rural mentality, broadening our vision for building a new society are major preconditions. The Government intends to undertake the mission of making the cultural resources assessable for the entire population of Armenia. It is about the maintenance and rehabilitation of the historical cultural heritage, development of a library network within the country, being assessable to the best libraries of the world through the information-technological systems, also about the development of mass media, theaters and movies. We have to set a special TV Channel that will adequately present the Armenian culture.



Environment:



Environmental education, eco-friendly upbringing, and public awareness are the reliable guarantees for creation of a comprehensive and national unified ecology.



If we want to live in a clean environment, we have to change our living habits, the environment of the nature starts from the environment of a human being,



The fourth priority is the establishment of effective public, local self-governing and private sector management systems and the introduction of the principles of corporative management.



All the ambitious programs and priorities will stay on the paper if we do not continuously improve our working methods.



What does that mean?



We have to couple our efforts of acquiring new knowledge and introducing new methods with the goal of hitting set targets through set actions.



We have to create learning opportunities for the employees of private and public sectors. We will introduce the best international standards in the field of management. An efficient modern public management system implies the management of state resources with the rules of doing a business by saving every penny and constantly improving the efficiency and transparency of the activities.



Setting clear targets for the desired outcome and the performance assessment leading to that goal will become the main rule of reporting for the Government. We will come to the point when the efficiency of annual performance of each agency will be rated based on those criteria. This means, that the Control Chamber of the RoA has to conduct a procedural audit in the first place.



The quality of the services provided by the state and local self-governing bodies has to drastically improve, and the public will have the possibility of rating those services by providing feedback.



An electronic management system will be introduced enabling the state and local self-governing entities to provide services via Internet/online, thus minimizing the need of contacting the state official by the citizen. By this, the corruption risks will be significantly reduced.



We will encourage the introduction of corporative management system in the real sector. Moreover, the corporative management system will become a mandatory requirement for the companies with state ownership or with its participation.



We will also start the initiative of introducing the concept of public private partnerships, about which we have talked a lot.



The wages in the public sector should be competitive with those in the private sector, which also implies that the efficiency and quality of services should also be competitive. To that end, we have to bring to a logical end the reform of civil services.



The fifth priority is the harmonized regional development. Currently the disruptive territorial development has become one of the serious obstacles for the economic and social development of Armenia. The overpopulated Yerevan town hinders the regional development, as well as the natural development of Yerevan itself. The Government sets a challenge for itself-it has to turn the town of Dilijan into a financial center.



We will create cultural, recreational, agricultural and industrial centers outside Yerevan.



The decentralization of these functions seeks to provide for higher growth rates in the regions.



The State has to provide with developed rural infrastructures so that the farmers can develop their own production.



We cannot have a technological society, if not all the villages of Armenia have reliable Internet access. The modern information systems, knowledge and services should be made available and assessable to everyone. This will enable us to achieve an improved quality of life even in the remote corners of Armenia.



The notion of "disaster zone" has to vanish, and the rehabilitation activities should end.



I enumerated the first five priorities of the Government for the upcoming five years. To address those priorities we will introduce a new approach- and that is the implementation of national programs.



Thus, we announce the launch of the five national programs:



To become:



- "A Center of Excellence" for business enabling environment;



- Educational Center;



- Health Care Center,



- Recreational Center,



- Financial Center.



The Armenians dispersed all over the world will have the full opportunity of participating in the implementation of the above-mentioned programs. Their involvement will give additional opportunity for displaying the national, spiritual and cultural unanimity and strengthening those ties.



The unified potential of all Armenians over the world will become our competitive advantage.



The first step towards that has already been taken. We have established a National Competitiveness Council with the involvement of famous public figures and well known members of the society.



Dear Colleagues,



We are here to make a difference. The expectations that have been formed in Armenia give us the opportunity for flying developments. We need the trust of the public to achieve that. We invite the opposition to take part in the discussions and implementation of national and governmental programs, which can assume the role of a demanding and fair-minded supervisor.



In general we welcome the initiative of the National Assembly in terms of strengthening the rights of the opposition, which will establish a field for effective cooperation.



I want to conclude my speech with the philosophical phrase of Nerses Shnorhali:

"Let the God grant us the wisdom to think, speak and do kind deeds every hour, and prevent from any evil advises, words and acts; and let him forgive us and me-the multi-blameworthy one."



 

 

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