YEREVAN (Armenpress)–President Robert Kocharian visited Yerevan’s Kentron community to review implementation of legislative amendmen’s that call for local governmen’s to take on a greater role in managing regional affairs. The Kentron community–he explained–is better prepared to handle the reforms and effectively implement the undertaken commitmen’s because the community’s budget doubled in 2003–and is expected to double again in 2004.
Kocharian explained that the country must go in the direction of decentralization so that the government is not burdened with common problems of the population. "We must attract gran’s to solve water supply–local heating–and other similar issues–but the implementation of the programs must be transferred to local self-governing bodies."
Among problems revealed during his visit to the Kentron municipality was the unwillingness of various departmen’s to transfer regulatory powers to local self-governing bodies. Kocharian said that he will take up the issue soon with department leaders. "If there is a public service problem somewhere–people must not think about the president–the prime minister–or the government," Kocharian said. "There can be no stability in such a country."
The president is expected to visit other Yerevan communities–as well as villages to review the reform process.