ACNIS Considers Armenia’s Economic Situation

Armenian Center for National and International Studies
75 Yerznkian Street
Yerevan 0033, Armenia
Tel: (+374 – 10) 52.87.80 or 27.48.18
Fax: (+374 – 10) 52.48.46
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

June 10, 2011

ACNIS Considers Armenia’s Economic Situation

Yerevan–The Armenian Center for National and International Studies
(ACNIS) today held a roundtable discussion to analyze the contemporary
trends of, challenges facing, and prospects for the development of
Armenia’s economy. The meeting brought together representatives from
international organizations and the diplomatic community in Yerevan,
leading analysts, policy specialists, and members of the press.

ACNIS Administrative Director Karapet Kalenchian welcomed the audience
with opening remarks. `Virtually all of our present-day distressing
problems–emigration, inflation, low standard of living, etc.–derive
from Armenia’s dismal economic condition. And I believe our discussion
today will comprehensively examine these matters,’ Kalenchian noted.

In his thorough presentation, the day’s speaker, leading economist
Dr. Tatoul Manasserian, described Armenia’s current sad economic state
and also offered his vision for the avenues toward improving this
situation. Reflecting on the real economic `picture’ and the official
statistics which are misrepresenting, as a rule, and `works of art,’
in Manasserian’s view, the speaker expressed a conviction that to date
Armenia has not developed a strategy for economic growth. `Science and
scholarly activities which–together with the Armenian diaspora–are
considered to be one of our competitive advantages, have practically
lost their function as a stimulus for economic advancement. Suffice it
to say that Armenia’s state budget has allocated a mere one billion
drams, or less than one percent of the country’s entire GDP, to the
domain of science. And under such circumstances there cannot be a
knowledge-based economy,’ Manasserian argued. He also conveyed his
concern with respect to Armenia’s gross foreign debt which, as the
economist indicated, has almost reached the dangerous fifty-percent
level of the GDP.

This notwithstanding, Tatoul Manasserian underscored that the way out
of this predicament lies in restoring the balance between rights and
accountability, implementing the provisions of the Armenian laws `On
the Minimum Basket for Vital Welfare’ and `On Science and Scientific
Engineering Activities,’ and raising the efficiency of tax and customs
policies. As part of his anti-crisis packet proposals, Manasserian
also highlighted the need to collect a progressive tax for unused
land, to provide the villagers irrigation water at no cost and as
subsidy, and to set up a strict price control at markets where
agricultural produce is sold.

The presentation was followed by a series of questions and answers,
and featured a lively exchange with the audience. The roundtable
participants also included governance expert Harutiun Mesropyan;
political analyst Davit Petrosian of Noyan Tapan news agency; chairman
Edward Antinyan of the Ramkavar Liberal Party of Armenia; vice
chairman Vardan Grigoryan of the Democratic Path Party; economist
Seiran Minasyan; director Emanuel Lazarian of news agency;
Haik Balanyan of the Sardarapat Movement; and several others.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is
a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan,
Armenia. As an independent, objective institution committed to
conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to
raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public
engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater
and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the
institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first
Minister of Foreign Affairs. Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has
acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional
independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national
and international policy issues.

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or
27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email [email protected] or [email protected];
or visit

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