YEREVAN, September 20. / ARKA /. The Armenian government declined today two bills, proposed by ex-prime minister Hrant Bagratian, who is now an MP from the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) which called for raising taxes paid by mining companies four times and doubling the amount of minimum wage.
Finance minister Vache Gabrielyan said Bagratian argues that a set of changes made to the law "On Environmental Payments and Payments for Use of Natural Resources" pushed through the parliament in 2011 December have produced no results and the size of these payments is still very low.
The minister said there are various reasons why the government is against the proposed bills. He argued that the application of the amended law on use of natural resources can not yield any tangible effect this year, which should be expected in late 2013.
The minister further argued that the size of environmental payments in Armenia is in line with international royalty rates. "If we accept this (Bagratian’s) offer, we will have problems with the investors and mining companies", he said, adding that the proposal can be reviewed only after 2013.
As for Bagratian’s proposal to more than double minimum wage from 32,500 drams to 72,500, the minister said such a dramatic rise would bring about a number of problems.
"It will be a 360 billion dram burden on the budget. Besides, it may force employers to underreport their earnings, " he stressed.
Gabrielyan said the government's five-year program already calls for a double-digit rise in the minimum wage and the 2013 budget also envisages it. -0-