YEREVAN, February 6. / ARKA /. An Armenian presidential candidate, former prime minister Hrant Bagratyan, promised to reduce the poverty rate by 5 percent in 2013 by introducing progressive taxation scale.
According to his election program, this and some other measures will cut poverty rate by 15-35% by 2017, while extreme poverty rate will slash to below 2%.
According to official numbers of the National Statistical Service (ArmStat), the poverty rate in Armenia in 2011 stood at 35%. Money remittances from labor migrants made a significant part of households’ income, although they accounted for a small proportion of GDP. However, if no remittances are sent the poverty rate would rise to 53.2%, and the consumption deficit relative to the poverty line would increase from an average 7.9% to 21.2%.
Bagratyan argues that at the beginning of 2012, some 52% of Armenia's economy was controlled by 44 families, 26% were owned by 220,000 rural households and 65,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, 19% by Russia and 3% by other countries. Bagratyan says more than half of the Armenian economy is monopolized.
Bagratyan calls also for revision of antitrust laws which he says is instrumental for eliminating monopolies and oligarchies. He says 50-90% of the profits of monopoly must go to the state budget.
Mr. Bagratyan is also convinced that it is necessary to publish the lists of privatized companies which fail to fulfil their contractual obligations – the law must provide for mechanisms to levy additional taxes form such enterprises.
In order to stimulate the development of small and medium business Bagratyan offers to set up in 2013-2017 in Armenia and NKR at least two dozens innovation centers, technology parks and laboratories.
Hrant Bagratyan served as prime minister of Armenia in 1993-1995. He promoted the first generation of market reforms in the country and oversaw price liberalization, privatization of land, trade and service facilities, most of the food and light industries, reform of the tax, customs and banking sectors. -0-