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Speeches, Statements

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

“Corruption is number one evil on the way of building a strong country” speech of prime minister of RA Tigran Sargsyan at the conference on International anticorruption day.

Dear partners, on behalf of the government, I would like to greet the participants of the conference and to wish fruitful work.
Corruption is the most dangerous public disease haunting the humanity, which diagnoses the public state of heath. The deeper is the corruption and corruption activities the sicker is the society and it needs a treatment. We must say with regret that no known medication exists that cures this disease, and every nation, country, society finds its own way to overcome this disease. Those countries that are able to succeed can be rightfully called strong countries. Those countries where corruption has deep roots and where that disease is difficult to overcome, by my evaluation, are weak countries. The future of those countries is in danger and they are bound to loose in modern competitive field by not being able to ensure prosperous life and environment for their citizens. Modern world, which becomes smaller day by day, gives mobility to the citizens, especially to those, who can’t tolerate a society and an environment where corruption activities take place. Those people prefer to change their place of living, searching for such an environment that is more acceptable for their own value system. That makes the healthiest forces leave our society, making its resistibility to this disease weaker. What is our government’s strategy for fighting against this evil? I divide it contingently into three important parts. The first one is authorities: me and my colleagues. If we are not strict first of all with higher authorities, then it is obvious that it will be very difficult or even impossible to struggle against corruption activities. This means, that we must lead our society with our own personal example not to tolerate people around us, who are infected with that disease. The best was to choose this mean, with which we can help higher authorities, is transparent activity. We are determined to realize this thesis, which also comes from president’s election program. The principle, that the president suggested, was that we should start with ourselves. We must discover the diseases we have inside, we must be the first to speak about it and point out the treatments for them. From that aspect we have presented to National Assembly a law, which suggests making the activity of 500 authorities more transparent. From the best experience of the world, a unitary open electronic register creation is required, where the 500 authorities must present their individual declarations. With the help of EU advisors we have made that law as simple, easy to use, and without complex structures as possible. It is supposed, that a committee of authoritative people in RA will be established, which will be observing the activity of 500 authorities. The members of the committee will observe the publications in press, possible discoveries, and their declarations. The strictest requirement of the law will be to realize the constitution norm prohibiting the deputies and ministers to be engaged in business. For realization of this constitutional norm we need legislation mechanisms, and we are determined to insert those mechanisms. This is the first and most important direction of anticorruption struggle. The second most important direction is the structural reforms. Primarily, such structural reforms that concern national government agencies. We have undertaken the second stage of government system reforms, which concerns civil service institution insertion. Some time ago we got really big technical support from UK government and by studying that heritage; we came to the conclusion that those are very valuable materials. Unfortunately, we have realized only the first stage. We haven’t got the positive consequences of civil service we should have, for the simple reason, that the second and third stages haven’t been realized yet. Those are the stages that are supposed to brisk the activity of national authorities and workers and to create motivational bases, which will give the opportunity to stimulate modest, honest, intelligent workers and to punish those who are not able to fulfill their responsibilities. The absence of these motivational mechanisms prevents the productivity of civil workers institute. I would like to mention, that there is a natural resistibility: people don’t want to change the rules of their behavior and that is not only our characteristic. It is more difficult to solve this problem when we think about all the layers of civil service. It is obvious, that the structural reforms must start from government system. The steps we take include the following measures. First: elucidation of authorities functions in all the ministries and departments. Unfortunately, we must say, that today our ministers and ministries perform different functions. The functions are mixed up; there is a mess in the functions of ministries and departments. We can observe very often, how the ministries perform functions that are characteristic to the departments. We can observe, that there are ministries, which provide services themselves, and many departments that must provide the services are busy with developing and executing policy, which are the functions of ministries. Unfortunately, such confusion exists, and we have already undertaken these reforms.
In 2009, for the first time, we have listened with the ministers to the execution of the first 6 months of the year – to the reports of ministries by administrations and we have evaluated their activities. This was the first attempt, to perform such functions in RA, and we are sure that in second half of the year this event will be more productive. This is a rather tough work, as the description of business functions and sub-functions, work place describing procedures, pointing out work place responsibilities, looking from the aspect of business processes is laborious and complicated function. Alas, we haven’t developed such abilities in RA yet, but without the description of these functions it is impossible to perform inner process audit in future, which would make the management system more productive. We make great efforts to realize these structural reforms. Of course for now this work is not visible for public, but we are sure that after three years of productive consistent work we will have qualitatively another governmental system, which can significantly restrain corruption risks. Structural reforms also include reforms of our financial mechanisms. While presenting our national budget of 2010 in National Assembly I’ve mentioned that we will target the education and health sectors in 2010, where the financial mechanisms are not only inefficient but also contain corruption risks in themselves. The state, making orders in health and education system, has preserved the right to use those services paying less than the market price. Prices, which are lower than cost price. Naturally those institutions have to refill the financial gaps, that the state creates, and they refill them in another ways. Every department finds its own way. The ways are very often against the law. We create corruption risks ourselves. We have put these thesis into circulation. There is great inertia of resistance here too, because people are already used to present regime. The only request, that is set before us, is to raise the funding, which won’t lead to good results, if there are no structural and indigenous changes in financing mechanisms. The target is very simple: the state has no right to make market deflections. When appearing in the market the state must not differ from other participants. For market services we must also pay market price.
The third direction of our anticorruption struggle is moods in society. We need serious changes here, as we see that the society doesn’t aggressively fight against corruption activities. Our society is very tolerant to corruption. Moreover, our researches show us that corruption isn’t in five most negative events that worry our citizens. This is a serious alarm for all of us, as I am sure, that this is the evil number one on the way of building a strong country. This means that we and our conference must be able to establish such environment in RA, which will be directed against corruption. Unfortunately, thousands of people nowadays wish to get national position. The government is criticized not because the positions are taken aiming to discover public diseases and heal them, but to enjoy the advantages that position gives. This problem is pushed to the second row in the society. I am sure, that this kind of meetings also have the same problem of creating appropriate mood in society to discover corruption activities and to present the consequences of those activities to the public. From this aspect the NGOs certainly can help the government. Truly saying, I sometimes notice, that even the NGOs give in to the temptation, and announcing that their mission is to fight against corruption they generally act with political announcements. It’s understandable for me because of a simple reason – our society is more interested in political events and intrigues. NGOs, by working in that sphere, are able to find an auditorium. But eventually it turns into a disease. Instead of working with the government, they appear in politics. We can always see political evaluations on government activity; there are enough of them. Today in our country there are a lot of political evaluations. In parliament, out of parliament, many political parties, different opposing fields announce that critique. But you should agree with me, that is not enough for building a healthy society. We also need NGOs that will announce their mission of fighting against corruption and will follow it and will not make their activities politicized. Otherwise that field remains open, and we have a lot to do there. I would like to specifically mention the anticorruption committee, which is directed by the prime minister. That anticorruption committee has a very important monitoring institute, and we expect the participation of NGOs in its work. Apart from political forces, which are presented in National Assembly, apart from opposing political forces we invite the NGOs, which are to fight against corruption, to take part. The government can feel the importance of the monitoring institute. That is a necessary for us to be able to present the anticorruption project that we have developed with international organizations not only by the government or government members, but by NGOs. It is very important that the owner of that document should be not only us but also NGOs, as they have participated in the development of that document, all their suggestions and remarks have been included in there. At the last session of anticorruption committee we turned to them again: if they have any remarks, misgivings, they should make suggestions. According to international specialists the document meets all the best standards and includes all the right mentioned spheres and directions, where it is necessary to make structural reforms. I share a misgiving with European specialists. This document is extremely big and heavy. It’s necessary to take out some most important targets: the main issues, which will give the opportunity by making serious and radical changes to show the society that we can ensure success in that spheres. I think that anticorruption committee, listening to this advice will present a same kind of document to the society. Before I finish my speech, I would like to thank all the participants of this meeting again. A meeting, which is being held by the suggestion and under the aegis of UN in almost every country of the world. Again I wish all of us productive work.
Thank you.