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Official News

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Government set to concede farmers’ debts for fertilizers and seeds







A Cabinet sitting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. Before proceeding to the agenda, the Prime Minister issued a number of instructions.

Touching upon the problem of collecting the amounts overdue for seeds and fertilizers provided to local farmers since 2012 under State support programs, the Prime Minister said to have made a decision to concede the farmers’ debt for 2012-2016 and start from a clean page in case of availability of relevant documents: “Especially as the practice of 2017 can witness that the process can be organized without accumulating a debt.’

To that end, the Marz Governors were given a month’s time to make up the final list of debtors according to individual provinces and communities and submit to the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development for summarization within a 1-week period.

The Minister of Agriculture was told to submit a relevant proposal to the Government Staff within a week of the receipt of the finalized list of debtors as set out in paragraph 1 in order to finalize the issue.

“From now on we will abide by a very strict discipline. All intermediaries should be removed from this process: we must work with the direct addressees. We say that this concession will not become a tradition. Once we agree on the rules of the game and go ahead,” the Prime Minister underscored. As to those cases where the village heads are the recipients, the Prime Minister noted that at that time, the village mayors should be considered as debtors.

Karen Karapetyan instructed the Head of State Committee for Urban Development to work out and approve a draft legal act on the terms and conditions applicable to weather-dependant construction activities.

The Minister of Territorial Administration and Development was instructed to study and, if necessary, submit a draft legal act on the restriction of local self-governing authorities’ discretionary powers with regard to construction works and rule out the cases of refusal on the grounds of exclusively weather conditions.

“We have recently met with infrastructure managers. They complain that permits are not provided in wintertime. We have a stereotype, namely that construction is impossible in wintertime. We should study the experience of the northern countries so that we do not slow down the pace of construction,’ the Prime Minister emphasized.

In order to increase the efficiency of the grape harvesting process, quality control of raw materials and the elimination of existing risks, the Prime Minister instructed the Minister of Agriculture to summarize the results of grape harvesting every week on the basis of information received from each processing entity during the harvesting campaign.

The Head of Government also instructed the Head of State Food Safety Service by the Ministry of Agriculture to monitor and compare the actual output of wine products with the amount of grapes collected on the basis of the information set out in paragraph 1, and report back the findings to the Government Staff.

The meeting approved a State subsidy scheme for interest on loans available to local farmers. The program’s main goal is to allow for greater access to agricultural loans by means of partial subsidizing of interest rates for individuals and legal entities involved in the agribusiness sector.
The new program implies loans worth 3-10 million drams for up to 5 years. The loans will be provided at a 5% interest rate. Additionally, 3% interest-bearing loans will be provided to farmers from those borderline communities and agricultural cooperatives entitled to social assistance as approved by relevant government decisions.

Touching upon the question Karen Karapetyan noted: “Once again, I would like to draw attention to our policy in the field of agriculture. Let us just record what we are doing: the recipients of loans for agricultural equipment will have to pay only 2% interest; for drip irrigation - only 2%; the intensive gardener shall pay only 5% of the loan, and 2% - the users of hail-proof nets. With this tool, we raise the threshold of the loan up to 10 million drams with a 5 percent interest rate; in border villages and cooperatives - 3 percent. We are convinced that we can have modern and profitable agriculture. We want thereby to give a boost so that the tide goes rising, success stories come up, and the farmers get strong enough over time to move ahead on their own based on the market demand and supply ratio.”

The Government approved a strategy for enhanced seismic resistance in Armenia aimed at ensuring the safety of buildings of various importance, reducing seismic risks and dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes in the country.

In this connection, Karen Karapetyan noted that the problems faced in this field should be and find solutions. “We need to be consistent in this matter: while the challenge implies heavy spending, we must push ahead step by step,” the Prime Minister emphasized, adding that the cost of preventing the seismic risk is less than that of eliminating its consequences.

The Executive next set out the main VAT exemption criteria for competitions, contests and Olympiads of educational nature.

In a bid to improve the auditing process and comply with the international standards, the Government amended one of its previous decisions.
 

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