Oskanian: government should be more transparent and sincere

Vartan Oskanian: Armenian government should be more transparent and
sincere with society


YEREVAN, MARCH 6, NOYAN TAPAN. Today the greatest problem of Armenia is
to halt the decline in economic growth, and in order to solve this
problem, it is necesaary first of all to ease the tax burden and to use
resources brought from outside in a really purposeful way, the chairman
of the Board of the Civilitas Foundation, former foreign minister of
Armenia Vartan Oskanian said in an interview with "25 Minutes" Program
of the Public Television Company. In his words, Armenia should be able
to eliminate the major element hindering the economy – monopolies and
to create an equal field of competition. After these three steps,
according to him, Armenia will succeed in overcoming the crisis.

V. Oskanian believes that the government should take a greater
responsibility and be more transparent and sincere with the society. In
his opinion, the depreciation of the dram was inevitable and impossible
to halt, and the government’s fault in this issue is that until the
last moment it denied the necessity of that.

"Of course, it was doing that for political purposes, it had its
problems to solve, and it was a great blow to the government’s
prestige. The government lost the society’s trust, which, in my
opinion, is quite harmful today, in conditions of the crisis. Without
the society’s trust in the government and steps to taken by it, we will
face much more serious difficulties".

According to V. Oskanian, it is impossible to ensure 9% economic growth
envisaged by the 2009 state budget. "A question arisis: will the
government ignore this issue as well, will it say that we have no such
problem, or will the government address this issue in a more
transparent way and explain to the people what it has done in this
respect?" the former foreign minister asked, adding that the government
has an occasion to regain trust of the people, and it should say: "We
made a mistake when envisaging a 9% economic growth in the budget, it
was a wrong calculation, we have probably overestimated it". V.
Oskanian said that even in case of reducing the budgetary expenditures,
increasing the budget’s deficit or "directing the money brought from
outside to the budget" it would be impossible to ensure 9-9.5% economic
growth. "The society is currently concerned that the government is
going to ensure a 9% growth at the expense of taxes, the burden will be
carried by small and medium business because there are some signs, that
is, the use of cash registers: this is a new burden which has been put
on small and medium business". In the opinion of V. Oskanian, the
government should directly state: "We are going to take the following
steps and it will not be done at the expense of a tougher tax policy".