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Armenia approves 2014 state budget

The state budget draft for 2014 was adopted in the National Assembly on Thursday, with 70 votes to 40, and one abstention. The country’s main financial document for the year has made passions flare as debates and heated arguments have unfolded between the oppositional and pro-establishment lawmakers. While the ruling Republicans present the submitted document as exceptional in terms of income formation, the opposition claims the budget will not only fail to help solve the country’s main challenges, but will rather deepen the current social-economic problems.

Criticizing the submitted budget draft, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun party MP Artsvik Minasyan says his party will vote against it, and cites a number of the World Bank’s summary points on the Armenian economy.

“The first sum-up conclusion is that economic monopoly threatens the country’s future. The policy claimed to be adopted by the RA government for years has never been implemented, and the factual reality is that today its citizens are in a worse condition than years ago. The next point is that the predictions for improvement and creation of new job opportunities in the IT sphere are false and deceitful,” says the Dashnak lawmaker.

Meanwhile, Republican MP, vice-speaker of parliament Hermine Naghdalyan says for the first time in the history of independent Armenia tangible increase in tax revenues is projected without increasing the tax burden, which suggests that the growth of tax revenues would be achieved through fight against shadow economy and corruption, as well as production growth.

She stresses the way the expenses are prioritized – Nagorno-Karabakh, national defense, security and social issues.

“In 2014, 47 percent of the state budget or 586 billion drams ($1.5 billion) is planned to be allotted to social-cultural branches or, in other words, human capital-related expenses. Moreover, the increase of expenses in the sphere of education will make 13 percent, healthcare – 15 percent, and social welfare – 20 percent. It is noteworthy that the projected increase of expenses for 2014 is bigger than the actual increase in 2013 by only 8.1 percent, meaning that among the expenses in general social-oriented expenses are primary,” points out Naghdalyan.

Nonetheless, the opposition considers it as a budget of “mockery and plunder” that would solve none of the issues challenging the citizens of Armenia.

Armenian National Congress MP Levon Zurabyan says the external debt has exceeded the amount envisaged by the law, posing a serious threat to making new changes and the country’s overall solvency. In reference to the “gas tricks”, revealing that over the past two years the government has incurred debts totaling to $300 million for the supply of Russian gas, Zurabyan claims the government made expenses not foreseen by the state budgets of 2011, 2012, 2013.

Prosperous Armenia Party media and PR officer, MP Tigran Urikhanyan has released a statement saying his party would vote against the budget draft for 2014.

Heritage’s Zaruhi Postanjyan says in the government’s address: “The Government has now submitted a document to us by which they want to continue governing next year. You are ours, but you are strangers, sit down and shut up. You are not humans, you are stinking animals.”

She further adds that the government members’ “rightful place is a prison cell”.


Source: ArmeniaNow.com
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