YEREVAN, October 29. / ARKA /. According to the EU’s statistical agency, the Eurostat, Armenia has the lowest minimum wage across the continent, Mikael Melkumyan, an MP from the Prosperous Armenia Party, told a news conference today. Mr. Melkumyan, who is the deputy chairman of a parliament committee on economic affairs, said according to Eurostat, Armenia occupies the last place in terms of the minimum wage in Europe and is third in the CIS after Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The government of Armenia on September 27 approved a bill to raise the minimum monthly wage from 32,500 drams to 35,000 drams. The bill is expected to come into force from next January.
According to him, the minimum wage in Armenia should not be below the subsistence level.
"Raising the minimum wage by only 2,500 drams (less than $7) is not enough for citizens to meet their minimum food needs ... The minimum wage must not be lower than the minimum consumer basket, that is, not less than 55,000 drams," he said.
He said the minimum wage can be increased by shifting the tax burden on large companies, increasing the size of environmental tax for the mining industry. According to him, the annual volume of production in this sector is about 23-24 million tons of ore, but the amount of environmental taxes is meager.
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, the cost of living in Armenia in the second quarter of 2012 decreased by 4.1% compared to the first quarter to 53,000 drams. The cost of living in the average annual prices rose to 63,687 drams ($ 1-405,3 drams). -0-