What Do The Large-Scale Investments Testify To?

Lilit Poghosyan

Hayots Ashkhar Daily
Published on July 25, 2008

Last week, some of our compatriots living abroad declared of their
intention to make large-scale investments in Armenia, thus making
a surprise to President Serge Sargsyan on the occasion of the 100th
day of his presidency.

What is such "boom" of statements accounted for? In response to
our questions, ARTAK DAVTYAN, member of the "Republican" faction,
presents his comments.

"Let us first of all note that this is not a charity action. The sums
promised by our compatriots will be investments in the real sector
of our economy.

When does a businessman make investments in economy? When he trusts the
economic policy conducted in the given country. If they had no trust
in the policy and the economic programs declared by the President,
if they had no trust in the reforms implemented in our country, they
wouldn’t have made statements on making investments. This first of
all testifies to the existence of trust: trust in the authorities
and the future of Armenia.

In such circumstances it is quite natural that statements of this
kind were made by our compatriots living abroad. Although most of
them are citizens of the Russian Federation, the representatives of
the business world of the United States have also made statements on
implementing serious=2 0programs in our country.

The conversation is about quite serious sums. I believe the Government,
in particular, the responsible representatives of the Ministry of
Economy, will provide relevant assistance in promoting investments
in the priority spheres of our country on the one hand and achieving
their maximum use and ensuring a certain trade balance in the form
of profit on the other. This will be an additional incentive for
increasing the sums and involving extra resources in future."

"Is it possible for the statements to remain in the air, i.e. not
to be fixed by real investment programs as was the case with Ara
Abraham who, prior to the 2003 elections, promised to invest a sum
of 50 million US Dollars in Armenia and then forgot about it?"

"I don’t think so. Moreover, I rule out the possibility that such
statements may remain ‘in the air’, as you say. And I believe that we
will soon become the eye-witness of the specific steps implemented
in that direction. After all, even though there has recently been a
decrease in the immovable property transactions on account of the pre-
and post-electoral developments, no tendency of decreasing the prices
was observed.

It means that the people – both the citizens of the republic and our
compatriots living abroad who are capable of acquiring that immovable
property, trust both the economic policy implemented in our cou ntry
and the President of the republic."

"What about the activeness of the Diaspora Armenian businessmen who
want to make investments in our country? Won’t this be the best
answer to the challenges of the ‘Millennium Challenges’ program,
something which has become a club for the United States to blackmail
us and interfere in our country’s domestic and foreign policy."

"Being involved in that program was really a serious achievement
for us, and it is certainly desirable for the funding under the
‘Millennium Challenges’ program not to be suspended. In this framework,
it is envisaged to implement very serious programs which have a final
goal to reduce poverty, create infrastructures etc. After all, the
program is aimed at making our country a prosperous state. Since the
‘Millennium Challenges’ has received the approval of the American
Government, it means that our relationship with the United states is
extending, broadening and developing, and this is also important.

But we should certainly bear in mind that the Constitution clearly
defines the Republic of Armenia as a sovereign state, and it is up to
us to determine the borderline beyond which the allocation of financial
means may pose a threat to the sovereignty of our state. That’s to say,
it is also necessary to view the issue on this level.

Naturally, it is not desirable for the Millennium Challenges’ program
to be used as a club for imposing approaches on us and extorting
concessions. I believe the goal that lied upon the basis of the
program from the outset should be devoid of pretexts to the maximum
possible extent. After all, those pretexts pursue certain political
interests which do not always correspond to the political interests
of our country. As to the sovereignty of the state, it should, as a
matter of fact, be a supreme value for us.

The sums indicated by our compatriots already exceed the funding
envisaged under the ‘Millennium Challenges’ program by around 3 times.

It’s a different matter that these are private investments and not
charitable allocations and cannot replace the social programs envisaged
within the frameworks of the ‘Millennium Challenges’ program.

But one thing is obvious. They will, after all, be targeted at the
real sector of the economy, and this in turn implies new job openings,
a higher level of social protection, reduction of unemployment and
eradication of poverty."

"Does it mean that in case of being implemented in an effective
manner, those investments will create a qualitatively new situation,
essentially changing the social-economic conditions of the country?"

"Undoubtedly they will. I am more than sure that those investments
will be brought to life. Of course, here too, we have problems such as
fight against impunity, favoritism and corruption which, as previously
declared, should bear an on-going nature. I am sure the things will
go that way.

But this should also be accompanied by changes in the system, so as any
person may feel them on his/her own back, as they say. That’s to say,
it is necessary to do everything for any minor and average official
and statesman, who ex-officio communicates with an ordinary person
and deals with the solution of the problems of thousands of people,
to realize that his mission is to render services to that person in
an appropriate manner.

In that case everything will settled very quickly.