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e-Governance

Official News

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Prime Minister welcomed the 10th jubilee congress of the Union of IT Enterprises

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan attended the opening of the 10th jubilee congress of the Union of IT Enterprises (UITE) at Mariott-Armenia hotel complex.

The Prime Minister greeted those present and congratulated them on union anniversary. The head of government reminded that as early as 6 years before the Government of Republic Armenia declared information technologies to be a priority branch of economy, and corresponding steps were taken to that effect. “I know that our society is largely dissatisfied with the pace of reform in the sphere of information technologies, and that we have still much to do in this area,” – Tigran Sargsyan stated in part. “At the same time, you may notice that serious progress has been made over the past few years, with most of the problems raised during our regular meetings being addressed on the part of the Staff of Government. I am glad that during our latest meeting as the government’s achievements and shortfalls were discussed item by item, we could state considerable progress in spite of many outstanding problems. To my mind, a breakthrough was marked in 2009 since despite the shrinking construction-caused GDP fall in Armenia, we were able to display a 17% rise in the sphere of information technologies largely due to increased number in operating entities. This means that those joint programs implemented together with have been yielding tangible results.

The Internet is becoming more accessible to our citizens. From this point of view, the programs undertaken by the Government which we have discussed together and are included in the mutually agreed concept are yielding positive results. It is crucial for us to have the assistance of international financial organizations. In particular, I do think that the Computer for Everybody program is pivotal in this respect because family thinking will change if we provide them each with a computer. Using the Internet, households can have access to multiple services available online. In general, the Internet-based reality and the sphere of information technologies are turning into something tangible influencing their life. It appears to be obvious that success in the sphere of information technologies is impossible without easy and broad access. From this point of view, I do believe that the Computer for Everybody program is sure to yield its positive results.

As we summed up the year 2009, it was crucial for us to have a sharp increase in the number of IT users in the country. As a matter of fact, it was a breakthrough year in the field of information technologies. Another key achievement was the apparition of the third operator on the domestic market leading to higher competition in this sphere and bettering service quality and tariffs in general. Internet availability and tariffs are still posing some problems, but note that serious investments are being made into this sphere. Here too, we had a new operator last year to ensure availability of cable communication. Competition is expected to escalate this year leading to diversified and higher quality service packages, as well as lower prices. A sharp fall in Internet prices was recorded last year, and we expect them to go further down in 2010 as well.

The next question to which I want to draw your attention is Armtech, which is held in Armenia and San Jose alternatively. I feel this year we can realize the arrangements made at the forum.

First of all it is the idea which you put forward, namely to have a permanent mission established in San Jose which will promote the interests of Armenian companies enabling on the one hand the export of Armenian goods and services toward the Silicon Valley and, on the other hand, liaising this powerful worldwide center with the Armenian world of information technologies. We mean to get up-to-date information on global developments in this sphere so that we could harmonize the development of information technologies in Armenia with the global trends.

The government is ready to carry out this program together with you. We visited a leading incubator in San Jose. Perhaps, we can take the opportunity to forge a platform for establishing a trade mission there because among those numerous options offered in San Jose, it was the most suitable with the broad range of proposed services. And, at the same time, prices can be more affordable if we all make investment. Our ideology is based on that together we should generate not only a knowledge-based economy, but also society based on knowledge. I think that the sphere of information technologies can bring in basic changes to the thinking of our society. The indicators of 2009 testify that this sphere has bright outlook and a great potential. It may turn into a competitive edge for us.

I wish you fruitful work and every success to this jubilee forum. At the same time, I wish to assure you that any proposal, recommendation or criticism in our address will be given careful consideration. As in the last two years, we shall continue cooperating with you to reveal challenges and address them jointly, for example, the problem of the legislative field applicable to dual-purpose goods. There are still some concerns that the passage of such a law may create obstacles in this sphere. While there is another point of view stating that the non-acceptance of this law will create serious obstacles for international integration. These issues remain in the center of our attention, and I hope to find conciliatory solutions by means of joint discussions. Cooperation is the only way to achieving our shared goals.

Once again, I congratulate you all on this jubilee meeting and wish the forum fruitful work.”

Addresses were made by the President of the Armenian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists, as well as by the Head of the USAID.

UITE chairman Hovhannes Avoyan and Executive Director Karen Vardanyan came up with 2009 performance and per-activity reports respectively. Among the priorities set for 2010, the speakers emphasized the importance of full implementation of the IT concept, made a point of proper organization of the ArmTech forum, singled out the need for boosting business in general and emerging companies in particular, as well as for strengthening the nodes of the Armenian network and reforming education in Armenia.
 

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