YEREVAN, October 28. / ARKA /. The rise in retirement and old age pensions to come into force from 2014 January will bring down the number of poor Armenians by about 32,000, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said Monday at a parliament discussion on the next year’s draft budget.
Under a lately revised law on salaries the pensions will increase by 15% from 2014 January and public sector employees will see a 40 percent rise from July next year.
According to the prime minister, the rise will benefit first of all the citizens who receive the lowest pension. The law will not apply to senior citizens whose pensions are higher than 93 thousand drams.
"As a result, 32,000 people will overcome poverty threshold only as a result of increase in pensions. We see the poverty rate to show a downward trend and because of social programs stipulated by 2014 budget, this trend will become more apparent," he said.
According to the finance ministry, the poverty rate in 2012 was 33.1 %. The portion of extremely poor stood at 2.8 %.
Tigran Sargsyan said also in 2014 the focus will be on families with many children. He added that the government will pay also tuition fees of university students from poor families. He emphasized that the social component of the state budget has undergone significant changes and the future social policy will not be aimed at mitigating the effects of the poverty, but at addressing its causes.
"We will channel more resources into the creation of new jobs, while unemployment and other benefits will be provided to those who are in vulnerable groups. We will introduce new employment programs for unemployed citizens,” he added.
According to official statistics, the average nominal wage in the public sector in July 2013 totaled 127, 200 drams, an increase of 8% compared to the same period last year.
According to the draft 2014 budget, the minimum pension in Armenia will be 18,200 drams. The average pension at the end of 2012 was 29,689 drams. ($ 1 - 405.84 drams). -0-