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Official News

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan’s introductory remarks at first government sitting of 2011 and review of government’s program of activities for 2011

Dear colleagues,

I wish to begin with a citation from the President’s message. Congratulating Armenian entrepreneurs on the New Year, the President of Armenia touched on the key problems of 2011. The first important idea is that the post-crisis world will not be back any longer to the old economic model. However, new challenges will appear since the new economic model is not definitely formulated.

The following is second important problem which is set before the government: Quote: “All of us are well aware that the coming year will be a year of hard work. It should be a year of complete rehabilitation, furtherance of trends of economic diversification, new and creative steps taken amid new realities.” I think it has to do with the government’s working style and the tasks set for 2011.

A major question on our agenda is that of our priorities of 2011 - those tasks to be held under the ministers’ immediate control, and the program of the actions to be carried out by the ministries.

Secondly, we entered the year 2011 with certain resources: with the Ministry of Finance we have summed up the preliminary outcome of FY2010 budget performance. We still do not have the reports of PIUs which are due to be submitted within this month. But in a profitable part we can boast an AMD 25bn performance over the National Assembly-approved State budget, of which 20 billion in tax revenue alone. Also, we have stated 15 billion dram savings in the expenditure side of the budget. This means that our macroeconomic reserves increased in 2011. The consolidated account balance makes AMD 30 billion, and the stabilization fund some 45 billion drams instead of the planned 31bn.

First of all, this is caused by the fact that the credits available from the government were returned earlier than planned. As a result, we have 45 billion drans in the stabilization fund at this point of time.

And the third factor is following: you may know that the World bank yesterday backed a next tranche for Armenia to the amount of USD 25 million which will help build up our financial reserves in 2011.

Thirdly, I would like to tell you that for the first time newly appointed Minster of Agriculture Sergo Karapetyan is attending today’s cabinet sitting. You know that agriculture will be the center of our attention in 2011. In 2010 our economic indicators would have been higher if we had not had an unprecedented 14.5% fall in agriculture. It means that we have great expectations from the minister in 2011. And taking into account that he has wide experience, good record of work in the sphere of agriculture, I am convinced that we shall manage to provide for satisfactory level of economic growth in agriculture in 2011.

***

Concerning the government’s program of activities:

Firstly, we should compare the program with the President’s electoral program.. All to the ministries are directed to reconsider the priorities once again within a week’s time and, if needed, amend them so that our program is harmonized with the President’s electoral program.

Secondly, all the ministers are told to publish their agency priorities and the program of actions, hold news conferences and give detailed explanations as to what actions will be carried out by their ministries in 2011.

The third assignment is that within a week’s time you should submit those normative documents enabling the ministries to apply new techniques in estimating their impact in full. This means that you should pick out the most important tasks to concentrate on. On the one hand, we shall test the techniques and on the other hand we will be able to generate capacity within the ministries.

What are the priorities for 2011? By way of realization of reforms I would like to put them into groups.

Firstly, a reference point for us is that the President of the Republic has charged us to diversify our economic system. In this respect, we will embark upon fundamental reforms in 2010. The most serious reform is the pension one which covers all the spheres and is a long-range and resource-taking action.

The second most serious reform is the mandatory insurance which we started in 2010. 2011 will be different in this respect because institutional mechanisms will be created for the system of mandatory insurance. It assumes that many thousands of people will join the system, and a new culture and thinking will be introduced in this sphere.

The third direction of our reforms is the reform concerning the business environment covering the spheres of tax and customs administration. It is the first stage of reform. The second one includes industry and agriculture. In industry, for the first time we will have a complex of export-oriented efforts. The Ministry of Economy has developed the program, and we should approve it soonest possible.

For the first time, we will have a per-sector breakdown, including a detailed description of key enterprises. Together with the Ministry of Economy, we have already carried out this exercise for an umber of times which is to be enacted in 2011.

Thus, agricultural reform will be a priority in 2011.

Two State-supported areas - public health services and the educational system – are the third direction of reforms which will have great social implications. We must improve essentially the quality of services available to our citizens, including their accessibility by sharply curbing corruption risks. We have recorded certain progress already. The neo-natal assistance program demonstrated that we can succeed if we carry out a complex program.

According to international evidence, corruption risks have decreased by 80 percent in this area. Of course, we still have problems, but the stated improvement is an essential asset. I do believe that 2011 will bring about a breakthrough both in healthcare and educational services.

And, certainly, the judicial reform and the President-approved transformations in the system of police are the fourth strategic direction of reforms. We have passed a most serious program which implies specific actions, a time-schedule and appropriate funding sources. We already have the first positive results. The number of victims of road and transport incidents has been reduced drastically, and in this respect we have fulfilled the five years' program within a year’s time. I am convinced that that the stated these reforms will be yield tangible results in 2011 as this is reflected in the package at issue.
 

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