PM instructs to remove customs clearance barriers imposed for encumbered property or accounts

A Cabinet sitting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. Before proceeding to the agenda, the Prime Minister issued a number of instructions

The Premier gave the heads of central executive agencies and Marz governors 20 days to present to the public detailed reports on the activities and priorities carried out in 2017, as well as the tasks set for 2018, including the proposed deadlines and expected results.

Karen Karapetyan’s next instruction had to do with the results of his participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos. In particular, the Chief of Government Staff, the Executive Directors of the Center for Strategic Initiatives and the Development Fund of Armenia were tasked to forward the outcome report and general information on his visit to the authorities concerned within a seven-day period.

In order to eliminate the customs clearance barriers applicable in case of a person’s property or money arrest, the Premier instructed the Minister of Justice and the Chairman of State Revenue Committee to work out and submit to the Government Staff within 20 days a proposal to that effect.

“In fact, I cannot see the point of applying import restrictions against those individuals whose bank accounts are under arrest,” the Prime Minister said. Karen Karapetyan’s fourth instruction was about the activities of the State Register of Legal Entities. “As a result of the reforms implemented in the field of state registration of legal persons, registrations are made in short terms and mostly online, which was mentioned as a positive achievement in the 2018 Doing Business report. At the same time, it is necessary to simplify the bases of all decisions made by the State Register of Legal Entities, rule out the practice of demanding a copy of the license from business entities, as well as to facilitate access to and use of digital instruments,” the Head of Government said. He gave the Minister of Justice two months to develop and submit proposals and recommendations on simplifying the registration process, substantiating the grounds for refusal of reorganization requests, facilitating the liquidation procedure and the exercise of other rights, reducing CJSC registration deadlines and so on.

The meeting approved a number of Government’s legislative initiatives. In particular, the bill “On organization and activities of the Government of the Republic of Armenia” defines the Government’s composition and structure, streamlines the formation of the government, the terms of office, the powers and the reshuffling of Cabinet members, and the resignation procedure. The bill also streamlines the authorities vested in the prime minister, deputy prime ministers, government members and ministers. Provisions are envisaged for Cabinet sittings and the decision-making process. There are specific provisions regarding the incompatibility of government members’ position and responsibilities, as well as on the guarantees for the exercise of their activities.

The draft law “On public administration authorities” and the related laws provide the general description of State governance bodies and the order of their formation. They define the range of the agencies subordinated to the government, the prime minister and the ministries, and prescribe a unified procedure to follow in appointing heads and deputy heads of public agencies, set minimum requirements for the statutes of public administration bodies.

The package of amendments to the Land Code and two other laws provides that the Government of the Republic of Armenia shall be vested with the authority to define the order of prime grounding (soil replenishment) for road construction purposes. A number of loan programs are currently being implemented in Armenia, which need prime grounding for road construction. Surveys have shown that the prime soil is part of the land cover and the subsoil use regulations can not be applied to the latter. Note that the terms and conditions for soil replenishment are not regulated by the applicable legislation.

Touching upon the legislative initiative, the Prime Minister stated in part, “Within the framework of the North-South Road Corridor Investment Program, both the contractor and the donor organization raised the question of getting materials necessary for road construction, which calls for a prompt and operational solution. In particular, this issue has been raised by the Bank and the Chinese Ambassador.”

To that end, the Premier suggested holding a joint discussion with Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of International Economic Integration and Reforms Vache Gabrielyan, involving representatives from the ministries of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources, Transport, Communication and Information Technologies and Nature Protection and, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, answer the questions raised by our partners from Asian Development Bank and report back the results

Zinuzh (Armed Force) Media State Institution will be established with a view to tackling the bottlenecks and implementing a professional reform in the media field. Zinuzh Studio, Armenian Soldier and House of Officer State institutions will unite and operate in a single area.

The government’s next decision provides that the State Revenue Committee’s Prerelease Control Department will be reorganized and merged with the Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Ararat customs authorities. The decision is aimed at maximizing the process of transporting goods through Armenia’s customs border.

The Prime Minister highlighted the decision and noted, “It is a very bold and correct measure. We thereby give our confidence to business, allowing them to move freely on the border. This shows that the SRC has the needed strength and control mechanisms to prevent and detect any breach of our arrangement.”

In order to improve the family vulnerability assessment system and increase the effectiveness of social programs aimed at raising livelihood (family allowances, welfare benefits, and emergency care), the Government recommends alternative options for assessing the income and socio-economic conditions of target families by getting information about their members’ credit record and actual savings.

At the end of the meeting, the Prime Minister once again referred to the reports due from government departments and Marz governors. “Each agency, each governor must submit a report in a clear numerical way, in a language understandable to the citizen in order to report on what has changed, what foreign languages have been introduced as mandatory subjects in schools, how much construction permits have been granted and how many square meters have been developed in construction projects. It is important for us to understand citizens’ concerns and respond to their needs and queries. Please take this quite seriously and with a sense of utmost responsibility,” the Prime Minister said.

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