“We need introduce some rules in the scheme of local budget spending and a new budget management culture in enlarged communities” - Karen Karapetyan Holds Consultation in Kotayk Marz
Chaired by Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, a consultation held in Kotayk Marz to review the activities implemented under Marz and community development programs and further actions. Reporting back the efforts aimed at improving the socio-economic situation and the macroeconomic indicators in the region, Kotayk Marz Governor Karapet Guloyan advised that the region’s share in the country's GDP is around 7%.
Gross industrial output makes about AMD 138,485 million; gross agricultural output - about 61, 300 million drams. Agriculture is among the region’s key development vectors. There are about 61 hectares of greenhouses and 712 hectares of intensive gardens, of which 26 hectares based on the latest technologies. It is planned to set up about 30 hectares of new greenhouses and 200 hectares of intensive gardens by this yearend. As compared to 2016, spring sowing area has increased by about 1000 hectares. Tourism is also a priority destination. There are more than 75 hotel and recreation complexes in the region.
As instructed by the Prime Minister, 16 investment projects have been submitted to the government for a total cost of AMD 9, 100 million. The government has approved 11 projects worth AMD 7, 600 million. Underway is a Green Farmer CJSC-implemented greenhouse farm project in Hrazdan community. 10 other projects are under discussion at this point of time. Three solar stations with a capacity of 1 MW have been installed mediating investments of around AMD 1, 500 million.
Communities’ own revenues make AMD 3, 278 million. 31 communities will be reorganized into 6 larger communities in 2017 as a result of the community enlargement program. Some 138 rubbish and garbage dumps have been eliminated during the nationwide and regional clean-up campaigns carried out as part of the Clean Armenia program. Governor Guloyan reported the volume of garbage collections in the region.
The Prime Minister made a point of stipulating clear-cut job opportunity, investment and business climate improvement targets in Marz development programs. Coming to the community revenue collection issue, Karen Karapetyan stated in part, “Analyses are attesting that we have a serious shortfall in the field of local revenue collection. The process of community enlargement will exacerbate the problem since each community is supposed to have additional resources. Also, we have made an analysis of how our own revenues are distributed. We need to come up to a formula that should provide the breakdown of community expenditures so that financial flows could be managed in a way to avoid unacceptable excessive costs. We need introduce some rules in the scheme of local budget spending and a new budget management culture in enlarged communities.”
The Governor reported that almost all communities have recorded an increase in their own revenues this year and went on to note that there is room for an average growth of 20-30%. Karen Karapetyan told him to work with stakeholder agencies and submit an analysis of the steps to take with a view to ensuring adequate level of revenue collection and distribution in each community, as well as increased volume of garbage collection.
The meeting next heard the reports made by the Kotayk Regional Administration’s senior officers responsible for agriculture, healthcare, education and environment who reported back the findings of respective surveys and the activities to address the existing problems.
The Premier first touched upon the programs implemented in the agricultural sector with State support, stressing that they offer favorable conditions and highlighting the need for an appropriate awareness raising campaign. As the Head of Government said, estimates show that these programs will boast quite a high GDP growth owing to State subsidies. “The businessman, the generators of surplus value should feel that the community leadership and the government stand by them. We will feel the multiplier effect as soon as we manage to boost this drive,”Karen Karapetyan pointed out.
Speaking about the healthcare reform, the Prime Minister said, “We will be following the course of co-financing and will stand by the vulnerable, but before the above system may be organized, we suggest that starting next year, in allocating the State order we should take into consideration healthcare institutions’ record of investment attracted from other sources, including the private sector. Your service will be assumed to be not that good if you have attracted little money. Medical institutions are also responsible for auditing the transparency of their financial activities. It is extremely important that you conduct this policy on-the-spot.”
Coming to the reforms in education, the Head of Government underlined that cutback and optimization is not an end in itself.
“We want to build a quality education system. By the end of the year, we will develop a new system of teachers’ salaries,” the Prime Minister said, instructing those responsible to continue making joint efforts with partner agencies.
The Premier was also briefed on the indicators recorded in the first quarter of 2017 as a result of local manufacturing entities’ business activities. Growth was said available in the power engineering and processing industries (production of beverages, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and non-metallic mineral products). Exports have increased twice as compared to the same period in 2016.
Developing diversified industries - metallurgy, precious stones processing, light industry, food and raw materials, renewable energy, fisheries, information technology and tourism - are deemed to be promising in the Marz. Karen Karapetyan instructed to provide an accurate assessment of the initial status of the above-stated sectors and present development prospects.
The Head of Government noted that there is a large network of hoteliers in the region, and it is necessary to improve tourism infrastructure and expand the range of leisure facilities by attracting investments in major cities with this potential.
During the meeting, details of local manufacturers’ investment programs were provided. Reiterating the need for sustained feedback, Prime Minister Karapetyan instructed the heads of the agencies concerned to respond quickly to the proposals set out in the business plans.
Summing up the discussion, the Premier reminded that at the end of the year, the Government will assess the done by Marz administrations using a number of specific criteria, including job creation, investment attraction, tough discipline in revenue collection and garbage collection, improvement of health and education systems, etc.