YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian government said on Monday that it has finally received a $500 million loan from Russia aimed at helping it cushion the effects of the global recession on the domestic economy.
The announcement came nearly one month after the Armenian and Russian finance ministers signed a relevant agreement in Moscow. It was ratified by Armenia’s parliament on June 2.
According to the Finance Ministry in Yerevan, the Central Bank of Armenia received the loan, repayable in 15 years, from the Russian side in a single installment on Friday and transferred it to the state treasury on Monday.
In a written statement, the ministry reaffirmed the government’s plans to use the money for financing its widened budget deficits, implementing infrastructure projects, providing credit to small and medium-sized enterprises and supporting large companies hit hard by the economic crisis. It did not give any figures, saying only that the government will include the resulting expenditures in the state budgets for this and following years. Regular budgetary reports issued by the Finance Ministry will contain detailed information about the use of the Russian loan, added the statement.
Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and other top officials said earlier that about $70 million of the sum will be spent on completing the protracted reconstruction of the Armenia’s northern regions devastated by the 1988 earthquake. Another $30 million is to be re-lent to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through local commercial banks.