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Official News

Monday, 20 May 2013

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan’s Introductory Remarks, Delivered During National Assembly Debate Of Government Program





Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly,
Dear MPs,
Dear citizens of the Republic of Armenia,

According to Article 74 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, the Government of the Republic of Armenia is hereby submitting its program of activities for National Assembly approval.

The program of the Government of the Republic of Armenia was developed taking as a basis the main provisions of the National Security Strategy of the Republic of Armenia, the electoral program of the President of the Republic of Armenia, the Republican Party of Armenia and the Rule of Law Party, as well as the those ideas stipulated in the programs of parliamentary factions as are compatible with the aforementioned documents.

Armenia’s lengthy electoral season is over. We managed not only to keep economic processes safe from the likely negative impact of the ongoing political discussions, but also to ensure improved economic performance and political debate.

Wright was the President of the Republic of Armenia to emphasize that “we are in for the most favorable period since 2008 to get to work in order to address the nation’s problems and, as a result, to build a more secure and prosperous Armenia.”

Dear Colleagues,

Both the world and we have changed a lot in recent years. We live in an era of complex and rapid changes. The reality is full of surprises and often makes us reconsider our programs and initiatives. Volatility is the most specific feature of the modern world, with instability being the steadiest estimate.

However, this does not mean that we may deviate from our goals or otherwise will be inconsistent in implementing our programs. We just have to tune with current realities, upgrading our toolkit and building up national capacity to achieve our goals.

The opponents of our political team, including the ones who used to be our colleagues, are blaming us for numerous shortcomings. I will not dwell on their allegations, though it seems to be clear that we have not been engaged in populist initiatives.

The criticism was sometimes fair, sometimes full of populism. But you must agree that we were open trying to expose the problems by ourselves. We did not avoid public debates about our failures and shortcomings. As a result, we have a clear understanding of the reality we live in, and will not put up with its negative manifestations.

We are well aware of those problems that still exist - unemployment, emigration, poverty, corruption and unequal competitive conditions.

Many of you may ask us about the steps taken and yet to be taken by the Government in order to deal with these and many other problems.

1. Firstly, over the past few years, we made every effort to overcome the vulnerability of the economic system of Armenia, namely the low level of diversification.

We are better poised to day to ensure sustainable growth. For the first time, the Government came up with an industrial policy initiative aimed at identifying and using the existing potential by providing the private sector equal opportunities for tapping on the public instruments. As a matter of fact, the public-private sector cooperation has been producing tangible results.

2. Secondly, we stood by the farmers providing them with affordable seeds, fuel and fertilizers, which has led to growth and new jobs. We have been promoting agricultural cooperation through new export-oriented marketing infrastructures.

We are going to implement an all-out stock-taking of agricultural assets to identify the existing potential, based on which we will develop a program of targeted assistance.

3. Thirdly, we identified instances of widespread corruption in the social sphere that inflicted tremendous harm to the State. The savings so made helped us increase the level of pensions and welfare benefits. We laid the foundations for introduction of integrated social services in a bid to make the assistance better tailored to each individual case.

We are introducing one-stop-shop welfare services in the regions. In parallel, we have been introducing the institute of social servant. We have started and will continue to combat the causes behind poverty by ensuring easy access to education and employment.

4. Fourthly, we have implemented public sector reforms, introducing a system of electronic governance, which allows wider access to public services, as well as transparency in public affairs, reduces the risks of corruption and increases the effectiveness of internal control. We have sharply reduced the number of checks implemented through a mechanism of electronic records. 150,000 public servants and their families are benefiting from the program welfare benefits.

5. Fifthly, we have carried out large-scale infrastructure projects: over a period of five years, we constructed and reconstructed an unprecedented amount of roads. Telephone, the Internet and drinking water have been made available in remote communities. In Shirak and Lori marzes, we have implemented large-scale housing programs. We continue to work on the construction of schools and outpatient clinics, repair and refurbish hospitals.

6. Sixthly, serious progress has been made on the way to building civil society, securing us leading positions in the region in terms of freedom of speech and the press, human rights, civil liberties. Several issues have been tackled as a result of cooperation with civil society organizations. We abide by the political motto of broad-base civil society participation in decision-making processes.

7. Seventhly, public services have become more accessible. In the first place, our citizens witness the following positive developments: sharp decline in and improved quality of Internet services, simplified and low-cost services in the State cadastre, effective system of mandatory vehicle insurance, simplified registration of businesses (within a few minutes), significant relief of tax burden through the introduction of electronic signatures and records. As a result of the aforementioned and other efforts, Armenia was able to improve its Doing Business ranking by 18 points up to the 32nd position.

We are also well aware that many reforms have yet to yield tangible results.

Before drafting this program, we visited numerous communities across the country, contacted thousands of people and listened to their concerns.

In particular, what expectations did Vanadzor Pedagogical Institute student Armen Haroutunyan have from the State? First of all, he was looking forward to getting a job in tune with his educational background, as well as affordable housing and a car. In short, premises for setting up a household and leading a dignified life in the homeland.

Now, what is the State going to do for Armen and thousands of young people like him?

• as part of the educational reform, we will promote direct linkages between enterprises and educational institutions to have highly-qualified professionals fit for the labor market
• we will carry on implementing the Affordable Housing program for the youth
• the Affordable Car program was launched last year

Now, what expectations did pensioner Alvard Shahinyan from Vardenik community of Gegharkunik Marz have from the State? She expected a sufficiently high pension, premium-quality medical care, recovery of her savings with the Savings Bank of Armenia.

What is being planned for the pensioners?

• increase in the level of pensions
• availability of healthcare services in each community, as well as wider range of free medical services
• continued effort for reimbursement of those deposits made with the Savings Bank of the former USSR until 1993

Dear Colleagues,

We have much to do to translate into reality the expectations of every Armenian citizen.

In the near future, we will do as follows:

• creating highly paid jobs through full implementation of our export-oriented industrial policy
• launch of a funded pension system aimed at providing a dignified old age
• systemic wage increases
• higher quality and accessibility of education as a means aimed at overcoming the existing problems
• wider access to and better quality of healthcare services
• re-commissioning of idle plants, by substituting, if necessary, inefficient owners with such competent managers as may submit reasonable development programs, as well as extending targeted assistance in line with the requirements of each individual enterprise
• creation of a business-friendly environment for small and medium-sized enterprises, extending targeted assistance to startup businesses
• introduction of a fair system of property tax

We have to organize ourselves, to become a competitive nation and a well-organized society as we have no alternative. To understand this, just look at the map of the world and see the geographical position of our country. To understand this, it is just enough to follow the global news streams and analyze the regional developments. To understand this, you need to familiarize yourself with the global economic indicators and those adverse forecasts that relate to our business partners.

To counter the challenges facing us, we should shift from the subsistence agenda to the concept of development. We will have to reconsider the priority of individual interests of each of us with regard to the public one – the national interests. This is the formula that can help us build a competitive, secure and well-performing State.

It is not by accident that we adopted the motto of “Let us believe to change” ahead of last year’s parliamentary elections. As for this year’s presidential election, note the leader of our political team participated under the motto of “Toward a secure and prosperous Armenia.” These complementary ideas represent our vision of the future – a vision, which was approved by the majority of our citizens and inspired to make changes in the years ahead on our way to building a secure and prosperous Armenia.

Dear MPs,
Fellow citizens,

The most important change we need to make is the change in our way of thinking, in the rules of conduct that will promote the respect the law. This may lead to an environment in which the privileged status, malpractice, corruption, supremacy over the law will have no place and will be condemned by everybody.

Yes, it is a revolution – an ideological revolution - that will be carried out neither in public squares nor on the streets, but in our mind.

We will only succeed if we overcome the gap between the target values and the actual ones. We will succeed, if we work together.

This program implies large amount of work, sometimes calling for non-populist and painful decisions with far-reaching implications. It is a program of change, and we are prepared to shoulder responsibility for both its success and the possible load of negative feedback and criticism across individual stages.

We look forward to having the support of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition, alternative political forces, civil society, media outlets and all those citizens caring about the future of the State.

As President Serzh Sargsyan pointed out in his electoral platform, “…we have always advocated ideas instead of acting against anyone or any force: we have been abiding by discussion and a possibly extensive dialog, suggesting a way to strengthened national security, cohesion and welfare.”

The Government of the Republic of Armenia is pledging dedicated and hard work, the outcome of which will be seen and felt by every citizen of Armenia.

Thank you.
 

 

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