YEREVAN, July 21. /ARKA/. The first meeting of Armenia’s newly elected Cabinet, coordinated by President Serzh Sargsyan, was held on June 18. Following the adoption of the government’s five-year program Mr. Sargsyan made quite an ambitious speech- to post 7% economic growth in the year’s out.
Armenia’s GDP growth is projected to fetch up 4.2% in 2012 state budget. However, according to Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan the country will report 5-7% growth in five years.
As of now it is quite difficult to speculate about why Head of State has instructed the Cabinet to reach such a “cloudy” benchmark, and how the ministers will actually do it. However, President made it absolutely clear that he will evaluate the performance of the new government on the basis of achieving this goal. Mr. Sargsyan also highlighted that following the presidential elections in 2013 when the National Statistical Service reports economic data of 2012, the Cabinet structure may be reviewed.
“To win elections doesn’t mean to rest on laurels, on the contrary, no one has ever promised laurels. We were sent here to work with dedication, honesty realizing our duty,” President said at the extraordinary Cabinet meeting.
Ensuring 7% economic growth is not an end in itself, it is a step towards forming a reliable ground for fostering sustainable economic development, poverty elimination and its total liquidation in the nearest future, he added.
President called upon the government to set themselves to carrying out a difficult, but honorable mission.
He noted the Cabinet structure didn’t face any significant changes because it is not good to interpret the course of the launched reforms and programs.
“But it doesn’t mean that we don’t expect some revolutionary results fr om the work of the body,” Sargsyan added.
Early on June 18 Armenian Prime Minister presented newly appointed Ministers of Transport, Urban Development, Social Affairs, Health and Sport.
Presenting new Minister of Transport Gagik Beglaryan ( Ex-Mayor of Yerevan, Republican), Prime Minister expressed hope that the latter will undertake all the necessary measures to continue the programs of the Ministry. Beglaryan, on his side, didn’t make many comments and just thanked the Republican Party and President wh ereas already former Minister Manuk Vardanyan (Orinats Yerkir) apologized in front of his colleagues for being strict and demanding to them. “Each of you can contact me in the case of necessity,” he added.
Newly appointed Minister of Urban Development Samvel Tadevosyan (Orinats Yerkir) also didn’t comment much and just pledged to carry out all the tasks more effectively and transparently. Head of government characterized Tadevosyan as an experienced specialist who passed a long way, held different high positions, thus he meets all the necessary requirements for his current position.
Ministry of Labor bid farewell to former Minister Artur Grigoryan (Prosperous Armenia) in quite an emotional mode, expressing gratitude for performing his duties well. Grigoryan said he hopes the new political course in the social sphere will solve all the issues within the shortest terms.
Newly appointed Minister of Social Affairs Artem Asatryan (Republican Party) who earlier held the position of Deputy Minister, said the main priority of the sphere will be continuation of pension reforms and roll-out of an integrated system for social services.
Newly appointed Minister of Health Derenik Dumanyan (Republican Party) said his main task is to make medical services affordable for the population. High-quality medicine must be affordable in all aspects- financial, territorial, professional. “I must achieve this by all means, and my work will be directed to that,” he added.
The youngest Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Hrachya Rostomyan (Non-partisan), on his side, said he is aware of all the issues in this sphere pretty well, and expressed hope that the solutions will be found through gradual and efficient work.
Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said within the next five years inner resources will play a priority role in ensuring economic growth of the country as he presented the new program of the government for 2012-2017.
In the framework of the program the government plans to report 5-7% GDP growth leaving behind developed countries, to increase export against import, raise minimal salary twice, lift the fertility rate to 1.8.
Moreover, the government aims for posting funded pension level to 125-135% against the poverty rate, reduce poverty by 8-10 percentage points, open over 100,000 new jobs with the number of employed in non- agricultural sector by 30-50 thousand, increase state revenue collection by GDP 0.3-0.4 p.p. per annum.
In fact, the statement by President on fetching up 7% GDP growth was the main intrigue related to the new government, as most of ministers remained the same, and other minister portfolios have already been defined long ago.
Director of Caucasus Institute, political scientist Alexandr Iskandaryan didn’t find surprising the structure of the new Cabinet. According to him, nothing unexpected happened, and any observer could forecast it.
Head of Regular Parliament Commission for Financial-Credit and Budget Issues, Republican Party member Gagik Minasyan underlined that the new government is ready to implement the large-scale programs and reforms if the world doesn’t enter another financial crisis. And if the crisis occurs, the Cabinet will conduct the policy of bringing its influence over Armenia to zero.
“Our program is targeted at developing competitive economy and human capital. Our program will aim for struggling against abuse of a dominant position made by any household subject,” Minasyan said.
The new government of Armenia presented its program to the National Assembly on June 20. –0--