Hovuk Abrahamyan: The state should use any possible leverage to support businessmen

After assuming office, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan presided today at his first-ever Cabinet sitting with some thirty items on the agenda.

First, the meeting discussed an amendment to the law on the use of cash registers, which suggests banning the approaches to the use of law-prescribed sanctions in cases of non-compliance with the rules applicable to cash register-mediated calculations, as well as to drastically lower the amounts of penalties, which is opposed by the government.

In line with the amendment to the law on value added tax, the threshold of AMD300mn which was set for VAT deferment on imports under investment programs was lowered to AMD200mn as of January 1, 2014. With its decision, the Executive amended the previous government decree, which streamlined the application of the aforementioned law.

While the bills were being discussed, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan referred to the question of SME development in the country. “Dear colleagues, we are going to launch a process, and it is the common wish of all of us, including the future government and the President of Armenia, to provide favorable conditions and a propitious fiscal field for the development of small and medium-sized businesses. We will go a long way to meet half-way the aspirations of SMEs. We will facilitate the development of SMEs. We will stand by every investor and this issue will be discussed in detail as soon as the new government is up. We are going to make great strides to ensure that each businessman might enjoy great investment opportunities. The State should use all its leverages so that any businessman working within the framework of the law would not meet any obstacle whatsoever. It is going to be a principled decision on my part,” the Premier said.

The government instructed the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources to have about AMD116mn paid to Gazprom Armenia CJSC in the prescribed manner as partly refund for natural gas consumed by needy households in the period April 1, 2013 through July 6, 2013. Thus, vulnerable families will pay 100 dram instead of 132 for each cubic meter of natural gas consumed within the eligible quota of 75 cubic meters.

Over 1800 pedigree heifers have been imported into Armenia in 2007-2014 under the cattle breeding development program. The heifers were given to over 60 business entities on condition of deferred repayment. Some of them did not meet the repayment schedule. As a result, they proved liable to fines and additional financial obligations. The government decided today that the amounts so generated will be used in full to pay back the principal amount of the contract.

The government approved a procedure for assessment of the needs of job seekers, the criteria for suitable working conditions, the list of documents required for registration of a person looking for a job, the filing procedures and deadlines, as well as many other necessary rules, listings and standards.

The government approved the draft law on amendments to the Civil Code, according to which the practice of reparation of non-pecuniary damage shall be instituted in our country in line with Armenia’s commitment assumed under the relevant European Convention. The bill seeks to enhance our citizens’ legal immunity providing them with a new efficacious tool.

The meeting next approved a set of amendments to the following laws and legal instruments: the law on identification and support of persons-victims of human trafficking and exploitation, the Code of Administrative Offences and the law on foreigners. As a result, the procedures applicable in Armenia will be brought into conformity with the requirements of Council of Europe 107th Convention on Action against Human Trafficking.

The aforementioned bills will be sent to the National Assembly in the manner established by law.

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