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Official News

Saturday, 24 February 2018

“In 2018, we must finalize the architecture of our territorial administration” - PM Holds Consultation in Lori Marz

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan traveled to Lori Marz to get acquainted with the activities and priorities implemented within the framework of regional and community development programs in 2017, as well as the tasks set for 2018.

Marz Governor Artur Nalbandian reported on main macroeconomic indicators: the gross output in the main economic sectors totaled 298.9 billion drams (5.2% of the national output) - 103.8% growth against 2016. Industrial production made AMD 146,408.6 million (8.8% of the national output) – 98.6 growth against 2016. Gross agricultural output amounted to 78,900.0 million drams (8.7% of the national index) - 115.8% growth against 2016. Construction rose to 17, 785.4 million drams (4.3% of the national index) - 106.0% growth against 2016. Retail trade turnover stood at 37,635.6 million drams (2.8% of the national index) - 94.7% growth against 2016. Services rose to AMD 18,214.7 million (1.3% of the national index) - 115.5% growth against 2016.

The 2017-2025 Marz Development Strategy has been approved. The annual action plan for 2018 is complete, including those investment programs foreseen in the State budget, community budgets, private investments, donors, international and other organizations. The Strategy reflects the Marz development vision, namely to have a multi-branched, advanced industry, modern agriculture, advanced tourism and IT industry.

According to Artur Nalbandian, community budget receipts were collected at 96.6% in 2017, or 7086.7 million drams out of the projected 7333.3 million, which is a 11.1% increase against 2016. The Governor noted that they had failed to achieve the 100% target set for land tax mainly due to the absence of owners from the republic. The Prime Minister emphasized that the issue should be settled and instructed to submit solutions.

As for construction, the Head of Government was informed that against 114 construction permits granted in 2016, 212 were issued in 2017. New construction projects were implemented on 29686 square meters, against 17380 square meters registered in 2016.

As for 2018, the Prime Minister instructed to keep under control the quantity of construction permits issued and the volume of construction activities, underlining the importance of increasing the efficiency of management. “You should already have an estimate of the volume of construction expected in 2018, based on the number of building permits issued in 2017. We are currently drafting a law on condominiums in order to introduce a new institution in which you must actively participate. We also want to introduce the institution of effective managers.”

With reference to the Clean Armenia Program, it was reported that in all communities, exclusive of the smallest ones, it was proposed to levy garbage collection fees and secure their collection in order to provide garbage collection and sanitation services in the communities. Garbage collection fees have been envisaged at 327.3 million drams in 2018 against the planned 241.9 million drams or actually levied 226.2 million drams in 2017. Thus, the expected growth is 35.3%, or 44.7% in actual terms.

Prime Minister Karapetyan noted that the garbage collection and expenditure targets should be proportionate. “The waste management budget should be balanced, and the expected revenues and budget expenditures should be adequate. If all community heads keep up with this work style, we will continue to subsidize as much and will be able to efficiently organize garbage disposal activities. Next week we will be reviewing the budgets of all communities: garbage collection receipts should exceed the costs. You must set a bar and achieve it.”

Touching upon the road construction issue, the Premier suggested estimating the situation and submitting non-standard proposals for reconstruction of intercommunity roads mediating the scheme of State-community cooperation.

“We must finalize the architecture and structure of our territorial, regional government in 2018, as a whole. Each department must have a clear idea of its program and statistics; the problems need to be clearly diagnosed. As far as urban development is concerned, the procedures for building permits in all communities should be simplified so that they could be understandable to potential investors. You must see if there are any impediments or problems on the spot, and we must gradually implement zoning, especially in big cities.”

As regards the current situation in the agricultural sector, the Head of Government was told that the amount of arable land is 42,000 hectares, of which 30,000-33,000 hectares are used, with only 9,000 hectares left out due to the poor condition of the irrigation network.

Prime Minister Karapetyan suggested that the community leaders should consider the possibility of allocating part of unused land to those investors who solve the issue of community water supply through their business projects.

In 2017, 11 pieces of agricultural machinery were purchased under the State leasing support program, with 30 units due to be purchased in 2018. The Prime Minister instructed the responsible officials to estimate the overall amount of equipment needed to develop the agricultural market and work out a program based on such estimates.

There are 5 hectares of greenhouse farms in the region, 10 hectares - irrigated with the drip irrigation system. About 60 hectares of land will be irrigated with the drip system, with 2 new greenhouses due to be commissioned in 2018.

Karen Karapetyan said it is necessary to examine which area in which community should be developed and implement community zoning.

Coming to the absence of anti-hail stations, the Premier noted that a new anti-hail protection system will be launched: 36 rocket launchers will be installed, covering the whole agricultural field. Concerning the management of regional, community and republican property, the Prime Minister noted that private managers should be involved in order to enhance management efficiency. “We do not have to wait for years before someone comes to buy such property. Any unused community, regional or national asset should be outsourced for business management that will help create new jobs and contribute to the development of the region.”

It was next reported that 34,645 million dram-worth investments were made in 2017, 950 jobs were created mainly in light industry. 22 billion dram-worth investments and 1122 jobs are expected this year in the private sector alone.

As for tourism, the process developing community passports is underway, which will be completed by mid-March. About 200,000 tourists visited the region in 2016; a twofold increase was recorded in this field.

The Prime Minister noted that in order to bring in tourists to Lori Marz, it is necessary to create appropriate infrastructures and raise awareness. Emphasizing the importance of accurate representation of the sights and monuments in the region, Karen Karapetyan instructed to actively work toward raising the region’s tourist attractiveness.

It was also reported that tangible growth had been recorded in paid services in the sphere of healthcare. As for education, smart classrooms were said to have been set up in 17 regional schools with 128.0 million dram investment.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of teaching physical culture and foreign languages especially in rural communities. “How do I imagine our future citizen? Our children should be healthy, and physical training is important in this respect. Armenian citizens should know at least three languages, not because it is fashionable, but because it is crucial. We need to be able to teach natural sciences, languages, physical training, information technology, robotics, business and financial thinking at school.”

May 2024