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Official News

Saturday, 31 March 2012

National Competitiveness Fund Board of Trustees Holds Meeting

Chaired by Head of National Competitiveness Fund Board of Trustees, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, the NCF Board of Trustees held a regular meeting in the Office of Government.

After the meeting had approved the minutes of the preceding sitting and discussed organizational issues, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan presented Armenia’s economic development trends.

The head of government said a 4.6 percent GDP growth was recorded in 2011. According to the Prime Minister, what matters most is that the structure of the economy is changing in Armenia. In particular, faster growing industry has seen a significant rise of its share in the GDP. “Following the decline of 2010, agriculture boasted 14% growth last year, which on the one hand was due to the high rate of decline in 2010 and, on the other hand, to numerous new programs implemented during the year. The Government subsidized loans to farms to a total amount of about 14 billion drams, assisting the farmers with the purchase of fertilizers and seeds. As a whole, exports grew faster than imports in 2011, which is encouraging,” Tigran Sarisyan noted.

The Prime Minister stressed that the government met all the budget targets and managed to reduce the deficit last year, taking it down to 2.7% instead of the projected 3.9%. Noting that a 2.9% deficit is scheduled for the year 2012, Tigran Sargsyan said a consistent policy will be phased over the coming years to reduce the deficit, with a strong focus to be placed on the new export strategy, based on the principle of public-private sector partnership.

Concerning the ongoing reforms, the Premier said that according to the World Bank’s “Business 2012: Business in a more transparent world” report, Armenia’s position has improved by 6 points to the 55th place as compared to last year. “Most important is that Armenia is a leader with 5 reforms implemented in the period under review. We should step up on our reform effort if we are to keep up with the pace. First of all, we must improve tax and customs administrations thanks to the recently introduced system of online reporting, which has helped reduce the total number of reports, and through simplified rules of administration,” the Prime Minister emphasized.

Tigran Sargsyan advised that the International Monetary Fund has already completed the monitoring of the 3-year “Extended funding and extended lending” programs. “Our performance was assessed as excellent. That is, we have managed to comply with all our commitments. Moreover, we are hailed for over-fulfillment in a number of areas. In view of the above, we look forward to getting extra preferential lending from the IMF which is quite possible according to the representatives of the Fund,” Tigran Sargsyan pointed out.

After looking into Armenia’s financial sector, the IMF quelled all fears concerning the risks in this area. “A fairly positive assessment of macroeconomic, financial and banking system stability has been given, and now we can be more secure about the future,” the head of government stated.

The Prime Minister said that either the World Bank has praised Armenia’s performance: “This means that our country may have a share in the Bank’s surplus funds. The expected additional USD 150mn loan will help us push ahead with the reforms,” Tigran Sargsyan said.

According to the Prime Minister, Armenia has also succeeded in its cooperation with the European Union. “As a result, the EU made a political statement over the launch of the talks on deep and comprehensive free trade arrangement with Armenia. That is, we reached the proposed target. We will have to work harder over the next couple of years in order to introduce the EU standards and ratify the agreement, which can secure continued progress for our country,” Tigran Sargsyan noticed.

Tigran Sargsyan said to be pleased with the pace of cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank. In particular, USD 500mn-worth lending will be available from the Asian Development Bank for the North-South Highway project.

December 2020