YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–During Friday’s session of the National Assembly chairmen of various parliamentary committee’s outlined their views on the proposed budget. Criticisms largely reflected political posturing ahead of parliamentary election to be held in mid-1999.
The chairman of the finance and budget committee voiced concern over deflationary tendencies in the economy–the build-up of government debt and the chronic failure to pay state employees.
Minister for Social Security Gagik Yeganian defended the budget by voicing his satisfaction that 10 percent of expenditures are aimed at addressing the needs of citizens with lower incomes. Another member of the former ruling party–Vigen Khachatrian complained that the budget will not secure developmen’s needs of the country because of undue influence by " power " ministries which are engaged in unlawful economic activities and carving out of "zones of influence".
The sole deputy representing the Armenian Revolutionary Federation praised government efforts in tax collection and voiced dismay that salaries and benefits are not paid on time.
The National Assembly ended the time for speeches by individual deputies and tomorrow it will hear brief opinion by party factions on the budget.