Armenian citizens are preparing to head to the polls on June 20 in an early parliamentary election. A record number of political forces are taking part in this highly contested election. Even though there is less than one week before Election Day, not all of the parties have published their election programs. Taking into consideration the post-war situation, the polarization of society, the tense campaign period and the large number of undecided voters, EVN Report has translated and compiled certain thematic sections of the programs [foreign relations, defense and security, the economy, education and healthcare] of seven of those political forces in order of their position on the ballot. They include: the Armenian National Congress, Civil Contract Party, I’m Honored Alliance, Bright Armenia Party, Prosperous Armenia Party, Citizen’s Decision Party and Armenia Alliance.
Here we present the party and alliance programs on the economy.
Armenian National Congress
Just as democracy is a way of organizing the state’s political system, similarly the market is a way of organizing the economy. All citizens should have the opportunity to own property. Property grants the citizen the opportunity to take independent decisions and ensures the citizen’s personal freedoms.
As an ideological guideline, the party adopts social-liberalism. This ideology, through its name, is clearly representative of the two principal desires that have been the main driving force of history, liberty and social justice. In recent history, those fighting for liberalism and those fighting for social justice have often found themselves in opposing camps. Even today, attempts to antagonize these two ideas are not rare. However, these two are not only not opposing ideas but are interconnected and complementary as there cannot be a free society without social justice. And in the same way, it is not possible to have justice when civic and economic liberties are restricted.
Social-liberalism presupposes adherence to the principles of a market economy and considers that the state cannot be democratic while rejecting the market organization of the economy. This model is based on the inviolability of private property and the encouragement of private enterprise. While social-liberalism accepts the role of the market as a self-regulatory system, it nevertheless envisages a regulatory role for the state which is aimed at protecting and guaranteeing equal conditions for free competition, encouraging possibilities of economic initiative for all and expanding business circles.
Social-liberalism does not limit the functions of the state exclusively to providing defence and upholding order in the country. The social-liberal ideology envisages a wider range of functions for the state. In particular, the state should have the function of providing certain guarantees and the functions of an institution that procures equal start-up opportunities for all.
This is especially true in the context of ensuring a dignified life for the most vulnerable segments of society, providing universal health insurance and the opportunity for every individual to receive quality education including higher education and vocational training.
Social-liberalism emphasizes equal opportunities and not equal results; the ideology considers the over-concentration of economic capacities and the acute segmentation of society a threat to the principle of equal start-up opportunities. Over-concentration of economic capability and acute segmentation of society is also a threat to democratic governance. Forces who have oversight over excessive means gain unequal and privileged opportunities to influence elections, policies and state decisions.
Social-liberalism considers progressive taxation, as well as inheritance tax beyond a certain limit, as a necessary means to avoid such consequences. The problem is especially acute for today’s Armenia, as the illegal monopolization of the economy, the over-concentration of economic resources in the hands of a few families, and economic segregation have reached catastrophic proportions and require significant state intervention to lead the country towards real liberalism.
Civil Contract Party
Armenia’s security and stable development will be at the core of the post-crisis economic development and structural reform policy. The ultimate goal will be a complete socio-economic recovery and stable development based on technological advancement.
To that end, our policy aims to:
- expand economic possibilities and ensure that they are equally available to all;
- through the development and realization of human potential improve the living conditions of the middle class and reduce poverty.
Our targets up to 2026:
- Reach an annual minimum GDP growth of 7% (9% in favorable external economic conditions);
- Increase the GDP per capita from 4,269 USD to a minimum of 5,900 USD;
- Increase wages in the private sector from the current 16% of GDP to 25% of GDP;
- Decrease unemployment to below 10%;
- Half the poverty index;
- Increase the average pension from 43,500 AMD to at least 61,000 AMD;
- Increase the minimum pension from 26,500 AMD to 37,000 AMD;
- Increase the minimum wage from 68,000 AMD to at least 85,000 AMD;
- Increase the average salary from 190,000 AMD to 300,000 AMD;
- Increase the pensions of persons with 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree disabilities from 26,500 AMD to 37,000 AMD;
- Increase the amount of the military disability pension to 55,000 AMD for the 1st degree, 42,000 AMD for 2nd degree, and 37,000 AMD for 3rd degree disability.
To half the poverty rate of the country by 2026 and to decrease unemployment to 10%, the Republic of Armenia needs to insure an annual GDP growth of more than 7%.
In conditions of having a limited domestic market, the only rational way of ensuring economic growth is through increased exports. Therefore increasing international competitiveness through absorbing knowledge, technological progress and capacity building is at the core of Armenia’s economic growth policy.
The roadmap to achieving our economic growth targets:
We will ensure a significant increase in the volume of investments.
In particular, the investment/GDP ratio should not be less than 25%. We will ensure the inflow of foreign direct investment through acquired knowledge, management skills and foreign business relations. Achieving the economic growth target will require foreign direct investment/GDP ratio of 6%.
To this end, we will implement structural reforms, including taxation, financial and capital market reforms, reforms in the labor market, investment and business environment, competition protection, foreign trade, etc. in order to maximize domestic and foreign private investment and increase their efficiency.
We will increase productivity.
Investment and employment growth alone cannot be the basis for sustainable economic development. In order to maintain long-term competitiveness, it will be necessary to significantly increase capital and labor productivity. We will target at least 5% annual gross productivity growth. To this end, we will launch comprehensive support packages to encourage technological upgrading and capacity building of the workforce.
We will increase employment and the number of the economically active population.
Economic growth without broad citizen involvement will not only fail to be inclusive, it will not be feasible. It is impossible to achieve our economic growth target without a significant increase in the percentage of economically active citizens. From this point of view, it will be extremely important to ensure the mobility of the population, the development and realization of people’s creative capacities, as well as increased participation of women in the economy. Especially in the post-crisis period, the low level of women’s involvement in the economic life of the country is an unacceptable extravagance. The government will develop a package of measures to support the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, especially women, in developing and realizing their creative and entrepreneurial potential.
Ensure the continuous growth of the international competitiveness of Armenia’s manufacturing industry.
Allocate at least 80 billion AMD for the implementation of measures aimed at the development of the processing industry over the next five years.
Establish three industrial zones, ensuring infrastructure and environment excellence.
Take steps towards the industrialization of Armenia, especially in the copper industry; to expand the production chain as much as possible, to stimulate the production of more complex, high-value products.
Make the contribution of the processing industry at least 15% of the GDP.
Increase the Economic Complexity Index from -0.39 to 0.1 points in the medium-term and establish the basis to be ranked among countries with high economic complexity within 10 years (index value: 0.46, 42nd place).
To achieve the above indicators, we will:
– Subsidize the salaries of specialists entering the field for the first time.
– Support the participation of Armenian companies in international technology exhibitions through tax policy tools and direct reimbursement of expenses.
– Through the innovative assistance toolkit, we will neutralize economic risks for investment projects of economic complexity.
– Approve the list of training centers, co-finance the costs of the courses provided by the centers.
– Support the acquisition of ISO certificates in the manufacturing industry through tax and expenditure support to help with the transfer of operational knowledge of experts working in leading international organizations in the field.
– Define five priority sectors for industrial development within three months, based on the latter’s post-Covid 19 economic potential. Within a year, we will put in place sector specific development programs for each. The programs will be based on the principle of public-private partnership.
– Based on the demand of the private sector, annually train and retrain 2000 specialists for the processing industry.
– Increase the technical saturation of the processing industry by providing financial, information-based knowledge and a number of other support tools to facilitate the acquisition of modern equipment.
– Implement an expanded export support action plan by implementing direct financial as well as economic diplomacy tools.
– Take measures to promote the release of carbon-free products.
High Technology, Military Industry and Telecommunications
– Have 35,000 employees in the information technologies sector by 2026; increase the turnover of the sector to 500 billion AMD, which will constitute 6-7% of GDP from the current 3․2%.
– Establish a new “Production City” tailored on the example of the “Engineering City,” designed for mass production of high-tech devices and systems, through state-private cooperation.
– Tailored on the examples of the Gyumri and Vanadzor technoparks, we will continue the construction of new technoparks in the regions. During the next five years we plan to build technoparks in Kapan, Goris, Martuni, Armavir.
– Continue to allocate about 500 million AMD annually for the implementation of the “University-Private Sector Cooperation” program for the training of at least 5,000 new specialists each year.
– Continue to allocate about 500 million AMD annually for the participation of Armenian high-tech companies in prestigious international exhibitions.
– Continue to allocate 1 billion AMD annually for the implementation of the “From Idea to Business” grant program, to stimulate the quantitative and qualitative growth of start-ups.
– We will continue to allocate 1 billion AMD annually for entrepreneurship development and training programs for specialists abroad.
– As a result of public-private partnership, as well as international cooperation, we envisage the introduction of a complete production cycle of domestically manufactured weapons. We will continue to provide large-scale funding for long-range UAV, RADAR, radio electronic systems, communication systems, laser technologies, missile systems, and other strategic areas.
– Build a strategy for the development of the space sector; in parallel we are developing a number of programs for the launch of artificial satellites.
– Create a centralized state service window at Haypost offices that will offer citizens and businessmen a one-stop shop for hundreds of services.
– Make high-quality Internet connection and access to state digital services available to 80% of the urban-rural populations of the Republic.
– Establishing a National Cyber Security Excellence Center by 2023.
– Armenia will continue to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
– Develop renewable energy.
– Introduce energy efficient and energy saving technologies as one of the pillars of our energy policy.
– Continue to work on diversifying energy supply.
– Liberalize the electricity market.
One of the key directions of our policy is the accumulation of public and private physical capital and, therefore, construction as a means to meet the demand for such capital, is a key direction.
Our goal is to implement the policies and programs that result in:
– expansion of opportunities to participate in the economic life of citizens and create added value.
– increase the internal mobility of people, resources and ideas.
– enhance the return on private investment and international competitiveness.
To achieve these goals the annual State budget expenditure to improve infrastructure should be 5-6% of GDP.
To that end, until 2026:
– We will repair 2500 km of roads.
– We will start designing and building reservoirs with a total capacity of 500 million cubic meters.
– We will renovate 50 medical institutions.
– We will renovate and build 300 schools.
– We will renovate 300 pre-school educational institutions.
– Completely resolve the issue of 4th and 3rd degree buildings that are structurally unstable.
– Significantly reduce and strictly adhere to the deadlines for issuing urban development permits.
– Modernize urban development standards.
– For every sizable community, we will issue online maps with clear urban development requirements, ensuring maximum access to information about the industry, prices, regulations and forecasts.
– Increase the efficiency of condominium management.
– Ensure maximum accessibility of housing for young families by reducing the down payment, the fee and interest rate, as well as extending the repayment period.
– Promote the construction of energy efficient, seismically sound buildings.
- Increase intensive farming by 1000 hectares every year.
- Introduce complete crop insurance by 2023. In the coming years we will continue to subsidize 50-60% of the insurance premium. We will expand the list of insured risks, as well as introduce livestock insurance, where a significant part of the financial burden will be carried by the state. We will expand the geography of agricultural insurance to include all regions.
- Continue to subsidize interest rates on agricultural loans by providing affordable financial resources at an interest rate of 0-5%. We will give the opportunity to repay the loans after the expiration of the grace period.
- Modernize 50% of the irrigation systems by introducing modern technologies; we will complete and build new basins/reservoirs.
- Fully reimburse the cost for irrigation water for a period of five years in case of introduction of drip and/or rainwater collection irrigation systems on up to three hectares of land.
- Continue to update agricultural technology with at least 500 units of agricultural machinery annually within the framework of the agricultural machinery leasing program.
- Stimulate the production of high-value crops and organic agriculture, which is in great demand in foreign markets through subsidized credit programs. We will provide 80 billion AMD for the implementation of measures aimed at the development of the processing industry over the next five years.
- Subsidize up to 70% of the purchase value of high quality spring sowing and autumn sowing seeds.
- Continue to support the establishment of greenhouses with credit, leasing and compensation privileges.
- Make digital and precision agriculture an integral part of Armenia’s agricultural industry.
- Introduce an animal numbering and registration system to support the improvement of pedigree husbandry.
- Continue to provide affordable financial resources to animal husbandry, to build up livestock and acquire new animals.
- Continue the leasing program for the acquisition of equipment for milk production, dairy processing, as well as the construction of slaughterhouses.
- Preventive measures against infectious diseases in crop production and animal husbandry will continue to be in the center of our attention. We will promote quality veterinary services in the private sector as well.
- Within the framework of subsidized credit leasing programs, we will support agro-processors to strengthen their production capacities, introduce the latest technologies, and effectively organize procurement. The agri-food equipment leasing program can be used by refrigeration, storage, greenhouse farms, slaughterhouse operators.
- Stimulate local seed production to gradually achieve self-sufficiency.
- Cofinance the creation of wholesale markets and logistics centers.
- Cofinance the establishment of collective warehouses in the main markets in Armenia.
- Provide targeted assistance to the National Agrarian University of Armenia to train and retrain specialists in accordance with market requirements.
- Improve aviation safety by bringing it up to par with the standards of international aviation.
- Make the Civil Aviation Committee a subordinate government body, introduce structural changes based on human resource calculations, and achieve the committee’s financial self-sufficiency.
- Develop general aviation by developing and implementing new regulations for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. Put in place procedures for the study of airfields and helicopter platforms and the issuing of relevant permits in the Republic of Armenia.
- Ratify the initial agreement on the Comprehensive Aviation Agreement between Armenia and the European Union and its member states.
- Establish a competitive regional aviation training center certified by international organizations.
- Negotiate with competitive airlines, create a favorable environment and conditions for their activities in Armenia.
- Raise awareness about Armenia and raise the country’s international profile. To that end, we will develop a new country brand and marketing materials for Armenia which will reach target markets by 2030 with the aim of reaching a target of 4․3 million international visitors annually.
- Continue to invite social influencers and travel programs to Armenia.
- Continue to increase the number of airlines flying to Armenia, including low-cost airlines.
- By 2023, improve more than 20 tourist destinations, their adjacent areas, diversify the types of tourism: cultural, nature, leisure, business, medical, resort, adventure tourism, and put to use Armenia’s full tourism potential.
- Along with increasing tourism inflow, we will create conditions for local and international investments. To improve and diversify hospitality services, we plan to increase the number of international hotel brands and major restaurant chains.
- Increase the number of festivals held in the regions of Armenia.
- Create an online platform for foreign tourists to easily purchase travel packages to Armenia.
- Regulate the legislative field related to tourism.
Rapid and comprehensive post-crisis recovery will require a number of framework reforms aimed at realizing the potential of Armenia’s economy. The growth of investment volumes and pervasive productivity can take place only in the presence of a favorable business and investment environment. At the core of the investment and business environment will be:
- tax, customs policy;
- access to finances;
- promotion of entrepreneurship, especially in the regions;
- flexibility of employment and business relations;
- tax policy aimed at reducing the shadow economy and creating a competitive business environment.
The tax policy pursued by the state should be aimed at increasing the investment attractiveness of the economy and improving the level of economic activity by creating stable preconditions for exports, long-term economic growth, redistribution of public wealth and strengthening fiscal stability. In order to achieve these goals, there should be a fair, perceptible, predictable tax environment for investors.
At the same time, to increase the efficient use and targeted use of public resources, to spend those resources on programs of public and national importance, as well as to ensure fiscal stability, we will expand the scope of tax revenues.
I’m Honored Alliance
The primary goal of the Alliance is to ensure the socio-economic development of the country, the drastic improvement of the quality of life and the living standard of the population in conditions of sustainable economic growth.
The issues of economic policy are:
- Ensuring fiscal stability;
- Improving the investment environment;
- Modernization and development of competitive industries;
- Efficient and fair distribution of economic wealth.
In order to solve these problems, it is necessary to take into account the specificities of Armenia and the factors that limit Armenia’s competitive advantages in the long-run, including:
● Lack of natural resources
● No access to the sea
● blockade and logistical difficulties
● Scarcity of working age population due to emigration
● High military and social expenditure
● Limited local markets
● Imperfection of the institutional system
● High level of poverty
● Under-development of human capital
As a result of incompetant policy making in the last three years, the economy in Armenia was dismantled, and the potential to create new value was reduced. For two consecutive years, as operating companies foreclosed and debt grew at an unprecedented rate, investment has been in decline and the unemployment rate on the rise, jeopardizing fiscal stability.
The practice of law enforcement agencies invading businesses unnecessarily, with unfounded claims and as a rule prompted by political motives, has significantly weakened the interest in new business initiatives and programs and has hindered thousands of potential jobs from being created.
Therefore, in order to solve the problems facing the economy, it is necessary to abandon the populist model of governance, which undermines the foundations of the economy:
● Quickly regulate the economic environment
● Strengthen the potential for economic growth
● Make public debt manageable
● Improve the investment environment
From this point of view, to restore and strengthen economic stability in the country, the tax policy should be reconsidered. Only in the presence of a stable economic environment can we talk about the inflow of investments, economic growth and development.
Restoring fiscal policy stability and significantly slowing down debt growth will be the priorities of our economic policy. Therefore, there is a great need to quickly regulate public finances and reconsider the recent aimless, insignificant expenditures, including the illegal bonuses paid to high-ranking officials. Instead, great emphasis should be placed on capital spendings on infrastructure, especially the furnishing of defensive positions in the southern direction.
The model of economic development based on consumption growth must be radically transformed into a model based on investment and productivity growth. Therefore, to restore fiscal stability and increase infrastructure expenditure, it is necessary to quickly restore the economic environment and ensure an environment of predictability for businesses. The government must be predictable, businesses must be sure of what economic policy is being pursued, where it stands today, and what will happen tomorrow. At the same time, the Damocles sword of criminal cases hanging over the head of business must be eliminated.
Economic growth must be inclusive, giving each individual the opportunity to express themselves through work and entrepreneurship. Freedom from all kinds of monopolies is a necessary but not sufficient condition for creating equal opportunities.
To establish a competitive economy, export promotion, increasing labor efficiency through the introduction of modern technologies, and encouraging small- and medium-sized enterprises are among our priorities. We need to create the necessary platforms and tools for the smooth implementation of the formula: “from an idea to a small business to a successful medium or large enterprise.” With state support, businesses should no longer be constrained from investing in innovative and state-of-the-art technologies.
To qualitatively improve the investment environment and attract substantial investments, it is necessary to:
● Ensure protection of property and banking secrecy through the use of effective, reliable and trustworthy tools;
● Liberalize the conditions for importing capital into the country, mitigate control over the origin of money;
● Introduce flexibility to the banking system, which will offer competitive conditions for long-term investments;
● Regulate the movement of capital movements, taking into account the peculiarities of Armenia;
● Improve the services provided by the state, eliminate administrative barriers, simplify procedures;
● Improve the competitive environment, implement straight forward norms in the field of civil law, improve administrative-civil litigation;
● Introduce protectionist tools to the framework of international obligations, which will help strengthen the national capital in a number of strategic sectors, including telecommunications, aviation, fuel and energy, the food industry, trade, agriculture, etc.
● Ensure and guarantee clear, understandable, transparent and stable taxation rules, with the reassurance that the rules will not be significantly amended in the foreseeable future.
It is necessary to create infrastructure, provide technical and consulting assistance, implement assistance programs, which means:
● Create specialized state structures and databases allowing resident and non-resident investors to effectively manage their funds at their own discretion and without additional costs;
● Create special databases and platforms of competitive business projects to be presented to potential investors, including foreign investors;
● Provide substantial state support to promising projects (subsidizing leasing for the acquisition of advanced equipment, investments in return for shares, etc.);
● Utilize institutions and tools that will allow individuals to redirect the expenditure of their modest savings from consumption towards investment (bonds, stocks, shares, etc.);
● Simplify business and investment legislation, eliminate bureaucratic regulations, improve law enforcement practices, increase legal predictability so that Armenian citizens and other legal entities have a clear idea of their rights and responsibilities.
It is necessary to encourage the development of those branches of the economy, which will ensure a supply of competitive, uninterrupted production (eg. food security), services and sustain employment rates under restricted conditions.
● In addition to export-oriented agriculture, it is necessary to develop local farms, which will provide employment and stable incomes in rural areas. To solve this problem, it is necessary to put in place the necessary infrastructure (slaughterhouses, milk procurement stations, agricultural markets, micro-loans, etc.).
● In education, healthcare, information technologies and engineering, it is necessary to support the emergence of competitive economic entities that will be able to provide services to foreign markets. Organizations and companies that have received state support in the above-mentioned spheres should be given the opportunity to establish business relations in foreign markets.
● In tourism, directions which will compel potential tourists to spend more money in Armenia should be developed, i.e. health tourism, cultural tourism, festivals, etc.
All these opportunities will be made available as a result of inclusive economic policy creation and the consistent implementation of the necessary infrastructural projects. We will do everything that is necessary to establish an inclusive economy and create high paying jobs, which will be the outcome of the implementation of our economic policy.
Bright Armenia Party
From a Consumer Society to a “Producing Society”
To create a financial, economic and social environment conducive to a state that guarantees sustainable development, competitive, progressive and high standard of living; where people will be free from need and all members of society will be guaranteed equal opportunities to improve their quality of life.
The Bright Armenia Party aims to establish a liberal economic system in the Republic of Armenia, at the same time using the state’s regulatory role to map and put in place strategic state mechanisms to ensure efficient economic development, macroeconomic stability and socio-economic justice.
To achieve these goals, the Bright Armenia Party prioritizes:
1. The guarantee of equal opportunities for economic activity.
2. The fight against corruption and the shadow economy.
3. Efficient fiscal and taxation policy encouraging the development of prospective sectors of the economy as well as small- and medium-sized businesses namely in the sectors of high technologies, renewable energy, intensive agriculture, light industry and the processing of raw mining materials.
4. Ensuring transparency and efficiency in the execution of the State Budget, state procurement and foreign financial loans through the establishment of oversight mechanisms.
5. Carrying out comprehensive and consistent work to secure and insure the implementation of investment projects of the diaspora and international partners.
6. In the framework of the policy aimed at improving the general investment environment and in order to significantly increase the volume of foreign investment, it is necessary to take steps to provide investor protection and insurance, create a legal basis for public-private partnership, increase protection of intellectual property rights, and improve the capacity of free economic zones.
7. Within the framework of targeted investment policy, support inclusive economic programs by promoting and supporting inclusive economic growth in certain areas (e.g. light industry, footwear industry, etc.) through the implementation of targeted strategies aimed at attracting foreign investment, through the introduction of effective mechanisms aimed at supporting capacity building, investment inclusiveness, post-investment services in Armenia and investment programs in regional communities.
8. Create an inventory of the potential for the development of the creative, innovative and technological industries (institutional, scientific, professional, organizations, programs, education, research, legislation, etc.); develop and implement an innovation promotion strategy, support production using advanced technologies.
9. In order to develop and support small and medium enterprises (SME), it is necessary to build institutional capacity for the compilation and processing of statistical data on the SME sector, to introduce a new toolkit for state support to SMEs, to continuously update it, to implement SME support programs through cooperation with international organizations.
10. In order to boost exports, it is necessary to continuously eliminate existing barriers to entry into export markets, increase access to new export markets, sign bilateral agreements with target countries to ensure favorable trade conditions, and establish an electronic data platform for Armenian producers and their products.
11. Continuously improve the business environment in Armenia, aiming to position Armenia among the leading countries of the World Bank’s “Doing Business Report.”
12. Proportional and specialized territorial economic development.
13. Creation of an investment atlas and simplification of business processes for the investor.
14. Be included in regional and international economic infrastructures.
15. Creation of a platform for facilitating state and business communications by applying the “one action” principle.
16. Introduction of social entrepreneurship models in communities.
Proportional Territorial Development
1. Develop a pertinent state support program to assist projects that meet certain criteria and contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
2. Organize joint training courses in investment program development and increase program efficiency with relevant institutions.
3. Consider loans and interest rate subsidies for the abovementioned investment programs.
4. instalment of a specialized decentralization mechanism.
Considering the importance to food security and the sustainable development of rural communities, the growth of Armenia’s competitiveness in the international agricultural market and taking into consideration the percentage of the Republic of Armenia’s population working in agriculture, the Bright Armenia Party proposes the Cluster Agricultural Development Project.
The project proposes the establishment of regional agricultural clusters based on the production capacity of agricultural produce processing factories. The cluster approach will see the collaboration of all parts of the chain of the production process, as per the “farm to table” principle.
1. Efficient and complete use of Armenia’s water resources.
2. The Bright Armenia Party attaches great importance to ensuring the further development and improvement of the water supply system, as well as ensuring financial stability, introducing new management systems that will ensure the self-sufficiency and economic independence of the institutions serving the water economy, improving the distribution networks in various communities by reducing water losses, improving water quality, improving the water supply and drainage services of residential areas, introducing a new potable water strategy.
3. Reconstruction and modernization of irrigation systems, as well as implementation of reservoir construction programs, development and implementation of irrigation system development programs, increase of irrigation efficiency through new technologies and management systems, reduction of water losses, water saving, increase of lands irrigated through water saving systems, introduction of an online and transparent water management system.
The Bright Armenia Party is committed to ensuring Armenia’s energy independence and security, realizing the country’s significant potential in regional energy programs, increasing alternative energy sources, ensuring energy efficiency, ensuring sustainable energy development, relying on the further development of nuclear energy, diversification of energy supplies and the introduction of modern and energy efficient technologies.
Information Technologies and Communications (ITC)
1. In the field of ICT, we consider it necessary to improve and develop the infrastructure, to ensure the availability of quality postal communication services.
2. In the field of information technologies we attach special importance to the development of the field of high technologies, promotion of new businesses, startups, innovative ideas, and scientific-technical-innovative activities especially in the regions of Armenia, promotion of cyber security, protection of personal data, qualified personnel training, development of professional skills, development and implementation of ICT development strategy, formation of the Armenian brand in the sector, increase of competitiveness, creation of new technology centers in the regional communities of the Republic of Armenia, promotion of cooperation between the science and the private sector, building up institutional-scientific capacities for mastering world-famous technologies, promoting the commercialization of scientific results, using local competitive IT products, increasing the quality, speed and accessibility of ICT services, the development of high-tech military industry.
The party is committed to significantly improving road quality and safety, to the continuous development of transport infrastructures, to increasing competitiveness in the transport sector, to making transportation services easily available and accessible, to increasing the volume of cargo tansits, attracting private investment, the continuous development of the road management systems, to inviting private operators to manage a unified transportation network, the installment of an e-governance and a single ticket system, ensuring transport security, technical inspection of vehicles and regulation of vehicles operating of butane gas, the development of the railway transport infrastructure, the creation of alternative toll roads in Armenia, the organization of affordable air transportation, inviting more budget airlines and the development of the small/local aviation.
1. Creating the necessary infrastructure for the development of tourism.
2. Development of the hotel industry.
3. Development of ski tourism.
4. Development of tourism with historical-cultural emphasis.
5. Development of medical tourism.
6. In order to develop tourism, we consider it necessary to introduce a modern tourism related information network, to strengthen Armenia’s position in the world market as an attractive country for safe tourism, support the organization of different events in the regions of the Republic of Armenia (traditional festivals, celebrations, etc.), develop and implement ecotourism development strategy, develop sports tourism, establish a visa-free regime for citizens of specific target countries or facilitate the visa process.
The Bright Armenia Party seeks to solve the housing problems of families left homeless after the 1988 earthquake, increase the efficiency of urban development, improve investment attractiveness in the field of urban development, create a free competitive environment, create new jobs, improve the technological and technical capabilities of construction companies, train specialists, ensure the seismic resistance of buildings, improve condominium management, regulate architectural standards and construction procedures, ensure the necessary quality of construction, introduce new technologies in the field of construction.
1. Fiscal policy should be aimed at ensuring macroeconomic stability, stabilizing foreign debt, stimulating economic growth, increasing the economic growth potential, adhering to budget regulations.
2. Public revenue policy should provide a fair and predictable environment for the business and the foreign investor. It must ensure a fair redistribution of resources, creating favorable conditions for the export sector.
3. Bening transparent and adhering to international principles of accountability is a necessity for businesses to ensure competitive, long-term sustainable growth in the country.
4. Public funds must be used purposefully, economically and efficiently.
5. It is necessary to take steps to develop financial markets and to establish platforms for the introduction of long-term pension savings in order to direct the accumulated funds to the real sector of the Armenian economy.
Prosperous Armenia Party (PAB)
- Minimum wage always needs to be higher than the cost of the minimum consumer basket. In the next five years, minimum wage and pensions will be increased by a minimum of 10% annually.
- Taking into consideration that agriculture in Armenia is still practiced on the basis of its Soviet heritage, it is necessary to develop all agricultural spheres, based on new, high-quality digital technologies and services, the creation of high production jobs, and modern agricultural technology stations. Designated development programs should be developed for all 10 regions of the Republic of Armenia.
- It is urgent that a new economic policy be developed and implemented based on the investment economy and not consumer economy. We need to ensure a sharp increase in labor productivity in the real sector of the economy. Over the next five years, the investment/GDP ratio should grow sharply to at least 40%. The “single window” principle should be put into practice to attract investments.
- It is necessary to develop and implement a comprehensive state program for export promotion, create contemporary centralized stations in each of the regions for the collection and storage of goods and produce. The stations should also be equipped with packaging facilities and refrigerators. The state is responsible for the uninterrupted sale of agricultural products that have a high consumer demand and are included in the priorities set by the Government of the Republic of Armenia.
- The credit burden, which has become impossible to overcome, is a serious problem for hundreds of thousands of citizens of our country. Thousands of people are in danger of losing their homes. This is especially true of consumer and agricultural loans, the interest, penalties and fines of which often exceed the principal amount several times.
There are about 2.2 million people with loans in the country, whose total loan liabilities are 4 trillion AMD, of which about 1 trillion are consumer loans. Agricultural loans also constitute a significant amount. We believe that it is time to relieve our compatriots of this unfair burden and make sure they do not lose their properties. Thus, loans up to 3 million AMD must be forgiven. As a result, out of about 2.2 million loans, about 2 million will be repaid in full. The interest rate on agricultural loans should no longer exceed 2-3%.
The Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia should be immediately reopened after the early parliamentary elections.
In order to support relatively large investment projects, the state should invest in these processes by 25-30%, ensuring the stable sale of goods and services for the next 3-5 years. Once the business is established, the government can sell its stake to the entrepreneur.
- The water management system needs to be radically restructured and the existing intermediary-chain links should be eliminated. As a result, the cost of irrigation water supplied to farms will be significantly reduced, and reliable relations will be established between water suppliers and water users. Therefore, from September 1, 2021, for the next three years, the payment for irrigation water for one hectare of land for farms will be set at 1,000 AMD.
- Armenia must once again become an industrial country. Special industrial zones must be established in the country that offer favorable tax, credit and production conditions.
- The energy sector, including nuclear energy, must be redeveloped in our Republic. It is known that the resources of Armenia’s Nuclear Power Plant will be exhausted by 2026. Therefore, it is necessary to start new negotiations with our partners in the Russian Federation for the construction and operation of a more modern Nuclear Power Plant.
- Taking into account that the natural gas-electricity tariffs for consumers are set by the state and the fact that 1000 cubic meters of natural gas costs 165 USD, and about 65% of electricity is produced by hydroelectric power plants, gas and electricity tariffs will be reduced by at least 10%.
- It is necessary to lighten the tax burden by setting a progressive income tax rate instead of the current flat taxation system. At the same time, the existing incomprehensible property tax regulations need to change, a zero real estate property tax rate will be set for properties of a market value of up to 12 million AMD.
- Small- and medium-sized businesses should not be over-taxed. They should be left alone. At the same time, SMEs should be given priority in the framework of government programs and public procurement. Small businesses should have the opportunity to grow into medium and then large businesses.
- Prosperous Armenia will expand the multi-vector integration of the Republic of Armenia within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The EAEU should become a major source of investment for Armenia and not be only a large market for goods and services. We will continue to take an active part in the ongoing processes in the CIS and CSTO structures, continuing our constructive activity in the European integration processes.
Citizen’s Decision Social-Democratic Party
Create Abundantly, Include Many, Distribute Fairly
The ultimate goal of economic policy is a welfare state. In such a state, the economy is guided by the principles of maximum wealth creation, maximum inclusion, and fair redistribution of wealth.
In order to create the maximum weath, we plan to reveal all the professional resources of the public-private sector, and all the competitive opportunities of Armenia. With a policy that is based on the assessment of the needs of the global market, we will stimulate the development of areas in which we can stand out globally. Our goal is to secure segments in the international market that will give us an additional role and become an additional security cushion for foreign policy.
In already existing fields we will contribute to the development of value creation chain systems, turning Armenia from a country exporting raw material to a processing county and eventually to a country that completes the chain of production.
The modernization of the economy is an unavoidable component of this process and for the implementation of which, the scientific community will be our key ally. We will assess the needs for economic modernization through public-private-science cooperation.
By focusing our domestic, if necessary also our scientific potential abroad, we will stimulate the process of production automation, the process of introducing new technologies and inventions. To help find scientific and technological solutions in production, we will consider the possibility of introducing long-term, zero interest leasing. In this context, we prioritize the advanced technologies sector for the development of which we set the following goals:
- Promote advanced technological learning in schools by developing already existing programs. Introduce substantive and organizational changes in secondary and higher education institutions and meet the need of the number of qualified professionals.
- Position Armenia as a supplier of advanced technologies, work progressively to cover new markets, work towards the promotion, sale and protection of local production.
- Define the goals of the military-industrial sector, form the consumer market and protect the producer.
- Study, produce, encourage and facilitate investments aimed at the production of dual-use products.
- Finance scientific research and effectively put the findings into implementation.
The qualification of the workforce is an important challenge for the creation of maximum wealth. Following an evaluation of the workforce and the labor market we will develop and implement a policy to help prepare specialists of medium to high qualifications where emphasis will be placed on the requalification of the existing workforce.
In order to reinject funds which, as savings have remained out of circulation, back into the economy and create opportunities for small investments, the open stock company sector will be regulated, subject to accountability, more reliable and straightforward to deal with.
Taking into account the extreme social polarization, the accumulation of wealth in the hands of small circles and the resulting public outcry, we intend to support youth entrepreneurship, to annually invest in the business plans of up to 1,000 young people for the next five years.
On one hand this will serve as a stimulus to overcome the economic crisis and on the other, it will help create a new generation of entrepreneurs and establish solidarity between different economic strata.
At the core of maximum wealth generation is the infomed inclusion of human resource, knowledge, technology, land and money. In this regard, we consider the amount of uncultivated lands in Armenia and their degradation a challenge.
We plan to reduce water supply costs through infrastructure development programs, increase its accessibility, and strengthen the agricultural advisory apparatus which links agricultural subsidies to the government’s needs.
As a medium-term goal, we plan to launch an online land registry, through which investors will be able to search and find the necessary plots of land, and the necessary information about the owners.
At the same time we will encourage the leasing of uncultivated land and accommodate the legal framework to allow for the uncultivated land to be considered as an investment by its owner or as a share of the business enterprise.
We consider the uneven economic development, the gradual economic weakening of the regions as opposed to the almost hourly development of Yerevan, a challenge. To this end, we plan to increase the attractiveness of the regions of Armenia in comparison to Yerevan through a comprehensive investment in legal framework, tax zoning and infrastructure projects.
Thus, the need to attract foreign capital can create an opportunity for us to establish “oases” in economically “desolate” areas for strategically important sectors.
In order to maximize the inclusion of knowledge and technologies, we plan to finance scientific and technological research projects that address the needs of the economy.
To maximize money circulation we consider it necessary to work on two fronts: foreign as well and local investments.
In order to attract foreign investment, we plan to develop projects of strategic importance for us, negotiate with partner countries and private companies while ensuring maximum predictability, state discipline and quality production.
For local investments, we consider it necessary to stimulate the development of the domain of open joint-stock companies and simplify the processes of establishing and managing a business.
The fair distribution of the created wealth will be based on a system of progressive taxation. We will not tax capital investment, but will tax stocks, bonds and luxury items. As a result of this policy, we will on one hand diminish social polarization and on the other hand encourage the reinvestment of revenues.
To achieve this goal, we will radically reform the corrupt customs bodies through personnel and procedural changes. As a result of the reforms, we will achieve effective tax collection and establish a partnership with the entrepreneur.
In this context, we consider education and healthcare, in addition to being a fundamental human right, as the main factors in the creation of wealth – means of protecting and developing human capital. Therefore, the costs of healthcare and capacity building should also be included in the process of equitable redistribution of wealth.
1. Every citizen of the Republic of Armenia should be able through own work to ensure for himself, for his family and for the next generation a life that guarantees safe, prosperous, decent and predictable development.
2. Every citizen of the Republic of Armenia should have the opportunity to fully manifest, implement his intellectual, physical and spiritual abilities in his country, in his homeland, in his state, and in return, receive proper material, moral and spiritual compensation.
3. Anti-crisis initiatives will be immediately carried out to stabilize the socio-economic situation, restrain inflation, prevent the increase of unemployment and poverty, dispersion of public funds and curb the possible crisis in the banking system.
4. Special attention will be paid to high-risk problems of the population, in particular, those connected with consumer loans.
5. In the field of economic relations and competition, fair, transparent rules and equal opportunities will be preserved as much as possible.
6. Policies aimed at stable economic growth, processing industry and agriculture development, oriented at the creation of a large number of jobs in trade and services field, as well as those targeting the infrastructure and urban planning development, will be implemented, having strictly combined the criteria for the preservation of cultural heritage and standards for construction of modern settlements.
7. In order to ensure stable and high economic growth, we will take steps to overcome the low level of productivity . It is mainly conditioned upon the current technological level, the existing equipment of the older generation. Within this scope, it is especially important to create a favorable environment for technological re-equipment.
8. We will drastically eliminate corruption and the embezzlement of state property by excluding the entire chain of underlying motivations.
9. The legal procedures for doing business will be simplified and clarified, the decision-making transparency will be increased, and the ambiguity of laws will be eliminated to the possible extent.
10. We will review those legal acts that were adopted based on the economic interests of a particular economic entity through violating the competitive environment. We will suspend the application of laws creating an unfavorable investment environment.
11. We will review the budget policy, including public debt management and public procurement systems . We will return to the golden rule of internationally accepted and applied fiscal policy: the amount of external public debt should be expended only for investment purposes.
12. In exchange for external debt, a program will be implemented focusing on the environmental and sustainable development investments. Within this framework, the environmental and sustainable development programs in Armenia will be financed with the funds allocated for the repayment of the external debt in the format stipulated by the external partners.
13. Necessary conditions will be provided for effective work in the financial field, along with banking and insurance sectors, especially in terms of bank secrecy.
14. Existing obstacles to the development of SMEs will be eliminated: in particular, the threshold of “turnover tax” for trade, services and production sector will be raised, after which we will move on to defining a universal tax for SMEs (for example, only turnover tax or presumptive tax).
15. Without violating the international obligations assumed by Armenia in the public procurement process, preference will be given to goods produced in Armenia, especially in the areas of strategic and security importance.
16. An incentive tax policy will be executed. Taxes should not be collected but paid according to the law. One of the components of improving the competitiveness of local products is tax legislation. It should create opportunities for manufacturing more competitive products compared to foreign competitors. Provisions that prevent exports and create additional administrative burden should also be excluded .
17. The transition from a levy to a mandatory payment regime will be achieved through an immense increase in the efficiency of State budget expenditures. Hence, every single citizen will make sure that the taxes paid are spent accurately and purposefully to the extent possible.
18. We will additionally deliberate on approximating real estate cadaster values to market values when levying property tax, by prioritizing social justice principle, public interests and incomes of the population.
19. The vicious practice of instituting criminal proceedings in connection with the obligations set out in the acts which turned out to be non-appealable before being verified, will be abolished.
20. With the purpose to promote investments, the tax system will be reviewed to eliminate any unfair increase in tax burden.
21. Favorable conditions will be created for family-owned microbusiness.
22. Policies aimed at widely participative economic and social entrepreneurship will be implemented.
23. Foreign trade policy aimed at the protection of domestic producers’ rights and fostering foreign trade will be put into practice. We will make the most of the opportunities provided by the Eurasian Economic Union, the European Union and the World Trade Organization, as well as preferences envisaged by bilateral trade agreements : GSP, GSP+ systems will be utilized to the full extent.
24. In the area of promoting foreign economic relations, special importance will be attached to the efficient use of Armenian diplomatic potential, as well as trade representation in different countries. We will restore the nullified relations with the international financial and economic organizations, such as the IMF, WB, WTO, ADB, EBRO and EIB, especially in the framework of infrastructural development programs.
25. We will ensure increased international competitiveness and quality in the sectors, where creating a large number of jobs is a priority, such as: tourism, agriculture, food industry, diamond processing and jewelry, and light industry.
26. Military industry will become one of the leading and progressive sectors of the economy.
27. Energy policy will be developed upon modern and applicable norms. Feasibility study for the construction of a new nuclear power plant will be initiated and negotiations with the potential investors will commence. The issue of waste management will find its solution through the construction of small thermal power plants, which will also allow for extracting electrical energy .
28. Armenia must be turned into a large construction site. The procedures and terms for obtaining construction permissions will be considerably simplified: importance will be given to the norms pertaining to technical safety, architectural appearance and utilization capacity of the buildings.
29. Mining industry will be brought into compliance with the international standards on environmental protection.
30. In the context of the new realities that have been created, a new strategic water resources management program will be implemented to ensure a responsible environment for future generations. The volumes and mode of using renewable resources will not exceed the acceptable level of their recovery capacity and the level of environmental pollution, and the non-exhaustible natural resources will be used to the maximum extent, while maintaining the principle of minimal negative impact on the environment. Considering the progressive restoration of the water resources of the Ararat Valley as strategic, we will exclude excessive exploitation and depletion of the underground basin. Armenia’s forest territories will be expanded.
32. The policy benchmark for all the types of transportation means will be quality service and accessibility, safety and full-fledged delivery of increasing traffic flow and freight transportation volumes. Re-equipment of the transport park will be scheduled. Digital Armenia
33. The digital management agenda of Armenia will be developed and implemented . It will include the digitalization of the public service delivery, providing the existing optimized, accessible and personalized public digital services, ensuring the development of data-driven policies and decision-making, and the expansion of opportunities for effective and “invisible” cooperation between public authorities.
34. Policies will be implemented to expand digital skills, create an effective and efficient link between the requirements of education and the labor market, introduce “smart” specializations, as well as develop and expand digital opportunities among employees of the public administration system.
35. Digital infrastructures will be created, which will provide equal conditions in Armenia for ensuring digital inclusion and the prerequisites for turning Armenia into a regional data center.
36. An effective cybersecurity system will be established, also through public-private sector cooperation.
37. Thanks to the digital economy tools, the digitalization of non-technological industries will begin, the business direction of “digital entrepreneurship” will be developed, and the opportunities for making business decisions based on data collection and analysis will be expanded.
38. In order to attract Armenian high-quality IT specialists from abroad, incentive solutions will be established for taxing the income of foreign IT specialists. New legislative solutions will also be given to foreign IT companies registered as residents in Armenia.
39. Special conditions will be established for companies selling products and services via world-famous international digital platforms.
40. With the purpose of developing electronic trading, we will start negotiations with international payment organizations, such as PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc., in order to ensure full availability of payment gateways for Armenian subscribers.
41. A new structure will be established on the basis of “Haypost” which will allow the population to provide services in different areas in accordance with international standards.
Investing in Armenia
42. We will introduce modern frameworks for investment promotion and investor protection. The target is to provide at least USO 500 million worth of investment in the first year, and to reach at least USO 3 billion in total for five years.
43. In order to promote foreign investments, we will firstly adopt a new law, essentially strengthening the guarantees and safety mechanisms for foreign investments. We will exclude any pressure on foreign investors, which has become a bad practice in recent years.
44. We will define and clarify the mechanisms for promoting and supporting investment projects. For this purpose, an institution effectively operating within the concept of one-stop-shop for promoting foreign investments will start functioning. We will activate and enhance the SME development and support center and revitalize the structures operating in marzes.
45. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mechanisms will be widely applied in the investment projects implemented by the state, and the PPP legal framework will be simultaneously improved.
46. We will enhance the capital market. Special significance will be attached to introduction of best practices in corporate governance, wide application of securities market instruments and effective integration into international markets. We will implement legislative and law enforcement reforms on protecting the rights of minor shareholders.
47. Throughout the country, we will assume voluminous investments and creation of new jobs in the fields of construction, agriculture and light industry, with special emphasis on new investment projects aimed at integrating those fields into regional value chains (firstly, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Gulf countries).
48. In Armenia, the protection of intellectual property rights, copyright and patent rights, etc., must be undisputable. The Armenian quality infrastructures will be competitive and distinguishable, ensuring the effective operation of expertise and inspection laboratories and centers.
49. The tourism sector should regain its leading position in the dynamically developing sectors of Armenia. A new policy of stimulating the tourism sector will be adopted. With state assistance, the losses caused to the sector (tax allowance, public private partnership programs, subsidies and tax refund mechanisms) will be restored. It will help to increase Armenia’s touristic attractiveness, its proportionate development and reduction of poverty.
50. Tourism development strategy will be modernized, clearly differentiating the public and private sector direct obligations and identifying specific areas of cooperation.
51. The state will provide necessary infrastructure for tourism development and state care for the cultural and spiritual heritage.
52. The state will promote the processes of presenting Armenia’s tourism potential and attractiveness on international platforms. Cultural, religious, adventure, eco, gastronomic and wine tourism will be of particular importance.
53. One of the priorities of the state is to ensure safety and free movement of inbound and outbound tourists.
54. A special program will be developed and implemented to attract investments in the tourism sector, develop a unique brand of the country and increase its awareness.
“Made in Armenia”
55. The slogan “Made in Armenia” will become the cornerstone of recognition and quality. Armenia should position itself in the region and the world as a country that produces quality and highly consumable products. The label “Made in Armenia” should be associated with the notions of high-quality, usefulness, safety and accessibility.
56. We will radically reform the state quality control and certification system of manufactured goods.
57. We will modernize the entire animal health system.
58. In cooperation with private companies, the state should initiate a special campaign to advertise our products in traditional markets and reach for new ones. In our view, the new markets are the Gulf countries, China, African countries, and eventually the EU.
59 . Unified logistics centers should be established for exporting goods from Armenia under a single umbrella brand (for example, drinking water, juices, fruits and vegetables, berries, processed agricultural products). This will ensure that the required number of products are available , identical in quality and character.
60. New mechanisms will be developed for ensuring export-oriented products in Armenia .
61. The opportunities of involving the Diaspora in promoting goods produced in Armenia will be used, for example, celebrities of the Armenian origin could support this initiative.
62. We can confidently consider exporting ammunition from Armenia.
63. We will undertake measures to expand the production of some traditional goods, such as carpets, and encourage the production of new types of goods. We consider it promising to expand organic agriculture production.