YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenian Finance Minister Tigran Davtian sounded on Wednesday a note of caution over Armenia’s renewed economic growth, saying that the domestic economy will take at least one year to recover from its first downturn since the 1990s.
“Our task is to restore the potential that we had before the crisis and also to restructure the economy to some extent,” Davtian told a news conference. “That is, to return to the level we had before the crisis not only in quantitative terms but also with a somewhat different structure.”
“That’s a matter of about one or one-and-a-half years. The recovery, that is,” he said.
According to official statistics, Armenia’s Gross Domestic Product rose by 3.1 percent in the first two months of this year after shrinking by 14.4 percent in 2009. Citing the figure, Trade and Economic Development Minister Nerses Yeritsian declared recently that the country has already emerged from the crisis.
The claim was disputed not only by opposition groups but also one of the three parties represented in Armenia’s government. Representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, for their part, have cautioned that Armenia has only overcome the acute phase of the crisis.
Davtian likewise noted that the Armenian economy has entered “a phase of stabilization and recovery.” He described as a “positive thing” the fact that it expanded in January-February despite a further contraction of the construction sector, one of the main engines of its pre-crisis growth. He said this bodes well for the diversification of the economy, something which the government has declared a top priority.