Armenia’s five-year plan

Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
July 6 2012

Armenia’s five-year plan

David Stepanyan, Yerevan. Exclusively to VK

The National Council of Armenia adopted a five-year program of the new
government for 2012-2017. It is another mechanism which caused
disagreements between the Armenian society and parliament. The program
enjoys avid support of PMs from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia
and its adjunct, Orinats Erkir. Prosperous Armenia, Heritage,
Dashnaktsyutun and the Armenian National Congress voted against it.

The program requires at least double increase of minimum salary,
decrease of the poverty level by 5% and establishing of more than 100
thousand new working places. According to the head of the government
Tigran Sarkisyan, the program encourages the birth rate, establishment
of competitive conditions for economy facilities, improvement of
business sphere and elimination of social polarization. According to
the Republicans, the government plans to shift from the strategy of
economic growth to the strategy of economic development. The
authorities seem to understand that economic growth cannot solve
Armenia’s problems without relying on new segments, types of activity,
enterprises producing new production and services, and competitive at
the world market. Within the logics the governmental program requires
decrease of corruption, providing economic growth by 7% in 2012, and
implementation of social programs. The government also promised to
provide at least the 140 per cent level of the index minimal
salary/poverty, growth of the birth rate up to 1.8, and decrease the
poverty rate by 8-10%.

All these figures and promises are positive, but it is not clear what
reserves will be used for providing this growth of Armenian economy.
Representatives of Prosperous Armenia, Heritage, Dashnaktsyutun, and
ANC who voted against the program have already heavily criticized
absence of certainty, feasibility, and presence of broad terms.

Giving an appraisal to the new program of the actually old government,
we should consider the fact that Armenia failed to implement its
previous five-year program. Today the government can easily promise
the 7 per cent economic growth, because in 2009 the fall of the GDP
surpassed 14%. Thus, the program seems to be realistic, as the
presented figures are very low, so Armenia has sufficient amount of
resources to fulfill the program.

However, there is a threat even for this unpretentious program – a
huge number of risks which can influence directions of economic
development. The most dangerous risks are high uncertainty in the
world economy, vagueness of expectations and unpredictability of the
situation development. The main domestic threat for Armenian economy
is still development of oligopolies. These ancient institutes of
autocracy are the biggest threat, because interests of their owners
and interests of the society contradict to each other.

Pro-governmental activists remind that the former government was
managed to save Armenia from external hard shocks which could be
disastrous during the global crisis. The Republicans always state that
during the crisis of 2009-2011 the government didn’t decrease spending
for social programs. And the fundament of the Armenian economy – the
banking segment – demonstrated stability and gained benefits. However
the government’s supporters forget about the slow pace of economic

Nevertheless, citizens of Armenia still do not get the essence of the
governmental program because the program has to be based on serious
research, require strategy and reforms, because economy without
dramatic reforming is not viable. At the same time private interests
in Armenia, i.e. 20 families of oligarchs, has such great influence on
the state policy that it is difficult to plan anything in the
governmental program. A program aimed at interests of several clans is
not a program.

That is why people treat the adopted program lightly. It doesn’t
matter how ministers study independent conditions, processes, and
society’s demands, if they do not correlate with powerful private
interests. Without it any steps by the government are doomed to fail.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS