YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The parliamentary committees held Wednesday a joint meeting to discuss the bill on making amendmen’s to the Law on State Budget submitted on the government’s initiative.
Before the keynote speaker to the stage–Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan informed the attendees of the economic situation in the country and of the necessary measures aimed at its stabilization.
He pointed out that the state has accumulated huge debts–and international financial organizations are demanding that budgetary expenditures be reduced and electricity rates increased. According to the prime minister the government considered the proposals of international organizations and advise to increase the revenue pattern by 4.344 million drams and the expenditure pattern by 376.7 million drams.
Prime Minister Sargsyan pointed out that structural budget changes will help make the recovery of the energy sector possible. The government suggests that 17.1 billion drams be allocated to water- and heat-supplying organizations to enable them to cover their energy debts. As for the debts of the energy sector itself–they are the result of government policy since 1993.
According to the data reported by the keynote speaker–Minister of Finance Levon Barkhudarian–the macroeconomic indicators for the first half of 1999 are as follows: GDP is 347.43 billion drams (4.7 percent more than the same indicator last year). Inflation rate is 4.3 percent. Exports and imports decreased by 3.7 percent and 8 percent respectively. The Armenian dram depreciated by 7.61 percent.
Addressing the budget revenues for the afore-mentioned period–Minister of Internal Revenues Smbat Aivazian pointed out that despite the quite low level of budget revenues the tax revenues made up 10.1 percent.
A decrease in budget revenues is accounted for by the Russian financial crisis and the reduction of custom duties. The decrease in budget revenues resulted in the lower level of expenditure financing. It made up 34.9 percent of the projected level for 1999. In the first half of 1999 deficit made up 15 billion drams and the financial gap 30.1 billion drams.
To bridge the gap–the government program provides for a 13.74 billion dram increase of revenue pattern by means of fixed paymen’s–by increasing environmental paymen’s as well as by reducing the budget expenditure pattern by 15.93 billion drams. As a result–the budget deficit is expected to be reduced by 4 billion drams.
President of the Armenian Central Bank Tigran Sargsyan said that the government program is aimed at recovering the budget–and the planned budget changes will make it possible to reduce the economic risk factor. According to the banker the program will be welcomed with open arms–because the government’s goal is to reduce the share of non-paymen’s and avoid obtaining unfavorable credits.