YEREVAN, October 28. / ARKA /. A former parliament member and an economist Vartan Bostanjyan has criticized the government today for its plan to end the payment of unemployment benefits, describing the move as wrong.
Last week, the National Assembly adopted in the first reading a draft law on employment , which proposes to abolish monthly unemployment benefits in the amount of 18,000 drams.
"Given the fact that some 35 % of the population lives below the poverty line the government should avoid making such drastic steps," said Bostanjyan. He said any such move should be preceded by creation of many new jobs.
"Obviously, this is a wrong move. The unemployment benefits must not be abolished until creation of thousands of new jobs for all-able bodied population," said Bostanjyan.
An MP from the governing Republican Party of Armenia, Manvel Badeyan, argued that there is a very high demand for skilled workers in various fields, but there are such workers and therefore the efforts should be aimed at preparing them.
He said the government will organize special free courses to that end for training of jobless people.
According to the National Statistical Service, the unemployment rate in Armenia in the second quarter of 2013 was 16.2 %, down 1.2 percentage points over the same period 2012. The level of unemployment in the second quarter compared with the first quarter decreased by 0.7 %.
According to official data, the number of unemployed decreased from 246,200 in the second quarter of 2012 to 228,100 in the second quarter of 2013 , while the number of employed increased from 1, 166,500 to 1,179,800 ($ 1 - 405.84 drams). -0-