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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan swept into power in Armenia last year over the wreckage of the old regime promising to install democratic, accountable rule.
His government has now unveiled a no less ambitious economic “revolution,” pledging to eliminate extreme poverty and grow the economy at a strong pace over the next five years.
Parliament approved the plan last week amid heated debate in the chamber and among the public and experts, JAM News reports.
Critics said the plan is short on specifics, although it does set some clear guideposts. Average economic growth is forecast to exceed 5 percent a year, and exports are planned to contribute 43 to 45 percent of GDP by 2024.
Small businesses with annual turnover of less than 24 million drams ($50,000) will be exempt from tax.
The head of the Armenian Union of Employers, Gagik Makaryan, praised the program for stressing the need to modernize existing enterprises as well as start new ones, but found the state would be challenged to implement it.
“The prime minister, being a maximalist, may have tried as much as possible to include the need for good steps in the program, but his team is not ready for them,” JAM News quotes him as saying.
Opposition parties were skeptical of the program’s claims.
A member of the opposition Bright Armenia party, Gevorg Gorgisyan, said the roadmap was “abstract” and lacked specific goals.
The economy’s performance last year was “satisfactory, even good” given the political turmoil, Aram Safaryan, the head of the Integration and Development NGO, told reporters Saturday.
The group estimates that GDP grew last year by between 5.6 and 6 percent. Exports rose by 20 percent and imports from Armenia’s largest trading partner Russia rose by 10 percent, he said, Panorama.am reports.
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