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YEREVAN. – Armenian Minister of Finances Vache Gabrielyan comments on the Government Program for the upcoming 5 years which was confirmed by the Parliament and answers to questions regarding the Program in the interview to Armenian News-NEWS.am.

The Government Program foresees an economic growth of 5-7 percent. However, according to the World Bank, for 2012 an economic growth of 4.1 percent is predicted for Armenia, the opposition on the other hand demands higher results. How did you come to such indicator?

We consider this indicator to be ambitious after all, as it corresponds to the highest level of regional processes. After long discussions we decided to consolidate in the program not the current trends but to set a more ambitious aim. If we had put 10 percent or 8 in the program it would be unattainable. We are experimenting with new tools – subsidization, new industrial policy, improvement of business sectors which I hope will prove effective.

In the previous program 2.2 – 3.5 percent growth in education and healthcare financing was foreseen. It did not happen, however. The new program does not include such aims. Why?

A significant increase in the budget funding for these areas is impossible because of macroeconomic factors. At the same time, there are several points of social directivity in the government program such as increasing pensions, minimum wages, child benefits.

What should citizens expect for 2013?

Surely, there will be certain changes in 2013. We will increase the minimal wage to AMD 35,000 instead of [current] 32,500. The number will increase until it doubles. For 2013 the program does not foresee increasing pensions.

The Government foresees an annual increase in taxes/GDP of 0.3 percent – 0.4 percent. But, as it seems, the previous program did not achieve those numbers. How realistic do you consider such predictions for the coming 5 years?

We encountered problems only during the crisis in 2009, but during other years we did register growth.

How would you evaluate the discussion of the program in the Armenian Parliament? Are you satisfied with the substantial part of the discussions?

The Government Program is not an economic, but a political document, which should be discussed in the right political environment. Maybe, I expected something different, but I did not expect a deep professional discussion, and it was not necessary such things to happen in the parliament. All in all I evaluate the discussions as positive.

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