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Official News

Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Today Prime Minister A. Margaryan, chairman of the Council for the Support of Information Technologies Development, has called a meeting of the Council. Discussed were issues concerning the fulfillment of the assignments given at the previous meeting, the revised and amended version of Licence No. 60 accorded to Armentel, as well as organizational and other issues.

With reference to agenda item 1, Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of the Council, reported that most of the assignments made at the latest meeting had been complied with. In particular, the draft law on high technology zone was discussed with the representatives of all the ministries concerned, numerous proposals were received which, once processed, would be forwarded to the CITD. According to Haik Cheshmarityan, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communication, relevant working groups of the CITD were taking part in the design of a time-table for the implementation of the tasks set out in the concept for the development of communication and information technologies. Regarding another assignment, he advised that within a 10-day period a proposal on the tariffs applicable for the use of radio frequencies had been discussed with the head of the working group on telecommunications and submitted for Prime Minister's consideration, also, a regulatory task force had been set up on the basis of a working group to monitor the transition from analogical technologies to digital ones. A meeting of the Businessmen Club was held in the prescribed 10-day period to discuss the progress in the design of the programs to be proposed by Armenia in search of inclusion in the Millenium Development Goals Program.

The CITD took notice of the account on the amended version of Licence No.60 granted to Armentel JV CJSC. Mr. David Haroutiunyan, RA Minister of Justice, mentioned that over 60 amendments had been proposed, most of which concerned the accuracy of the wordings to avoid ambiguities in future as it had been the case so far. According to the speaker, nothing in the amended version could be commented as extending the exclusive rights of Armentel, instead they had been either maintained or restricted. In particular, previously Armentel held exclusive rights over data accessibility, but under the present terms it was only entitled to the control over data outlet. Instead of its previous exclusive title to the provision of on-line services, the company henceforth would only have the right to grant on lease the communication channels with the tariffs to be set by the regulatory authority. According to the amended version, any default on the part of Armentel to comply with the liabilities specified in the licence could give rise to sanctions imposed by the regulatory authority, including the withdrawal of the licence. The Minister stressed that, as a matter of fact, the policy of the government had not changed at all. The chief objective behind the reconciliation agreement was the full liberalization of the field, as well as the maintenance of the existing market and the protection of consumers' rights.

A discussion was held involving those Council members representing the business circles to assess how the amended version of the licence, once effective, could help address the problems facing entrepreneurs. The Minister of Justice and the Minister of Transport and Communication answered all the questions of interest to Council members.

The Prime Minister appreciated the comments made concerning which no objections had been raised by Council members before and after the signing of the reconciliation agreement. Mr. A. Margaryan emphasized the need in giving the agreement wide publicity in order to get people acquainted with the new situation in the field of telecommunications.

At today's meeting it was decided to hold a nationwide competitive show-contest for the design of an electronic summary on the 1600th anniversary of the Armenian alphabet. Mr. Garegin Chougasizyan, chairman of the IT-Fund, advised that it had been decided to hold this contest within the framework of the worldwide initiative for the identification of the best electronic summary (WSA) with the winners of the WSA to be promoted to the membership of the 2005 UN Summit on Information Society to be held in Tunisia. He stressed that Armenia was the winner of the 2003 UN Summit held in Geneva. Mr. Chougasizyan assured that the forthcoming nationwide donor-funded show-contest would largely benefit the creation and subsequent dissemination of a high-quality electronic summary on Armenia to provide for increased public interest for e-activities in the Armenian society and pave the way for the Armenian operators to present their products on international markets.

Prime Minister A. Margaryan instructed, upon receipt of all the relevant proposals and due discussion thereof in the Council Secretariat, to enter it on the list of events drawn up by the governmental commission for the coordination of activities relating to Jubilee celebrations.

The meeting also passed under review the question of establishing a steering committee for the coordination of IT activities which featured among the recommendations made at previous sittings. Mr. Garegin Chougasizyan, head of the working group for the coordination of international and donor organizations, and RA President's chief economic adviser Mr. Vahram Nersisyants, Deputy Chairman of the CITD, reported that the group of WB experts who were on mission in Armenia last May at the invitation of the Prime Minister, had already presented its findings following numerous discussions and surveys held to that effect. According to their report, based on an in-depth analysis of development opportunities available in Armenia, as well as of different institutional models applicable in other countries with respect to IT development, two parallel models for the problem solution were proposed: the centralised model and the one based on public-private partnership. The former implies the creation of an e-development department within the Office of Government and the second provides for the establishment of a new executive agency.

The speakers stated that the WB mission had proposed the Armenian government to set up the office of Chief Innovations Officer (CIO) with the view of improving IT-investment coordination activities in the public sector and enhacing their efficiency.

Prime Minister A. Margaryan instructed to continue the discussions on the matter and to forward to the Council Secretariat all the proposals received in order to summarize them.

The meeting also reviewed the Armenian version of Open and the user's manual as financed from the proceeds of a grant available from Support Fund of the Open Society Institute. According to the members of the initiative group, this version was adapted to the local conditions and could be commonly used by the Armenian computer users: educational institutions, offices, business circles etc. In welcoming this initiative and thanking them for the work done, the Prime Minister instructed the relevant working group in the Council to examine and come up with findings on the best efficient use of the foregoing version. The same was suggested to the interested users.

May 2024