YEREVAN, December 20. / ARKA /. Some members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia expressed their anger at the government for ceding its 20 percent stake in the national gas distribution company ArmRosGazprom (ARG) to Russian Gazprom to clear part of the $300 million debt accumulated as a result of subsidizing the increased price of Russian natural gas for domestic consumers.
According to energy minister Armen Movsisyan, the Russian giant agreed to write off half of the debt after lengthy negotiations with Yerevan.
Addressing peer lawmakers during an extraordinary parliament session convened to discuss a set of agreements signed by Armenia and Russian during Russian president Putin’s visit to Armenia earlier this month Manvel Badeyan from the Republican Party of Armenia accused the government of secret dealings.
He said that until recently the energy and natural resources minister insisted that the gas price remained unchanged at $180 million per thousand cubic meters and now it appears that ‘we paid a higher price that accumulated the huge debt.”
“It turns out that ARG suffered losses but paid income taxes? How can this be explained,” he asked.
Another lawmaker from the ruling party, Hagop Hagopyan, said that the sale of the 20% stake in “ArmRosGazprom" would have been a good deal had we not lost our national property."
"If the government was forced to sell the stake, it is another matter. But if it were not, we had to find other ways to get $300 million to pay the debt, «he said.
Under an Armenian-Russian agreement, Russia will be supplying 2,5 billion cubic meters of gas to Armenia in 2014-2018. The price will be determined by a formula which is used to determine the price for domestic consumers in Russia In 2012 Gazprom supplied 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas to Armenia. -0-