Armenian opposition MP lambastes 2005 draft budget

Armenian opposition MP lambastes 2005 draft budget

Noyan Tapan news agency
24 Nov 04

Yerevan, 24 November: The opposition Justice faction of the National
Assembly views the 2005 draft budget as unacceptable, a member of the
faction, Tatul Manaseryan, said at a parliament session on 23 November.

Manaseryan said that the submission of the draft budget to
the parliament, discussions on it and putting it to vote in the
future would be of a purely formal character, as the MPs could not
familiarizing themselves with the draft within a short period. It is
unacceptable that the budget has been declared to be socially-oriented,
he said. A significant portion of the social sphere is funded on
credit – at the expense of deficit which is now fully covered by
foreign sources. It means that there is already absolute dependence
on foreign sources in place.

Foreign loans amounted to 80m dollars in 2004 and in 2005 they are
expected to total 100m dollars, which will exceed the planned budget
deficit. The MP said that there are other ways to develop the economy,
such as levying fair and equal taxes and financing social and other
targeted programmes with the taxes.

Fighting shadow economy is still a major problem while tax revenue in
the state budget tends to decrease, Manaseryan said. Besides officially
registered unemployment, there is also shadow employment which is not
subjected to taxes. Although information technologies are declared
to be a priority sphere in the country, science and industries are
underfunded as previously.

Manaseryan said he has serious doubts about the 8-per-cent economic
growth forecast for 2005, while the volumes of both export and
import are growing, the state debt (1.28bn dollars) is growing,
agricultural production which makes up one-forth of GDP, or 1-2
per cent, is rising at a higher pace, whereas the state of small
and medium-sized businesses, which account for 38 per cent of GDP,
is getting worse by the day.

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