Saturday, March 18 2017 18:18
Alina Hovhannisyan

Experts: Most pre-electoral promises of Armenian political forces are unrealistic

Experts: Most pre-electoral promises of Armenian political forces are  unrealistic

ArmInfo.  It is not necessary  to be an economist to understand that most of the economic promises  made within the framework of the pre-electoral campaigns of the  political forces of Armenia are unrealistic. Doctor of Science in  Economics, Head of the Research Center "Alternative" Tatul Manaseryan  expressed this opinion on March 18, during the discussions of the  expert community at the round table.

In this regard, the expert cited as an example points on the increase  of wages, pensions, allowances; Certain issues related to tax and  banking systems, in particular interest rates, agricultural loans,  state subsidies, etc.

Seyran Sargsyan, executive director of the Union of Banks of Armenia,  acted as an expert on the banking system. Stressing the importance of  holding such independent discussions, he noted that promises  regarding agricultural and industrial lending, in particular about  interest rates not exceeding 3-4%, are most often heard in election  campaigns. "And as usual, it is not specified where the resources for  lending at such interest rates will be attracted", he said. According  to S. Sargsyan, today the financial system of Armenia attracts  foreign exchange funds from international structures at interest  rates in the range of 6-7%. "If we add operating costs to the  interest rates of internationally attracted funds, or the bank margin  that has fallen to 2% in the past 20 years, then agricultural lending  at the interest rates promised by our political forces can not be  realistic", S. Sargsyan stated. In particular, if it is a question of  AMD credits, he said, the situation is much more difficult due to the  fact that today the economy of the country feels a shortage of AMD  resources.

In this context, he said that following the results of 2016, as a  result of the 2% margin, the yield on interest operations of the  Armenian banking system was 3.1%, on asset recovery by 0.5%, and 3  banks closed the year with a loss. Returning to the issue of interest  rates, S. Sargsyan noted that in the conditions of tough competition,  the interest rates currently in force in the Armenian market are  reasonable and rather low, in comparison with those operating in the  region or in developing countries.

At the same time, S. Sargsyan touched upon the "promises" of  political prisoners on amnesty for agricultural loans to farmers.  "Again, it is not clear, and nowhere is indicated at the expense by  what means this initiative will be implemented, given that the  agricultural loan portfolio is currently $ 312 million", he said,  emphasizing that such statements form the public's expectations with  accompanying negative Influence.

To note, the discussions of independent experts at the round table  were held at the initiative of the Research Center "Alternative", in  which experts from various economic sectors participated in order to  assess economic promises within the framework of the election  campaigns of the National Assembly of the political forces of  Armenia. The second part of the round table discussions will be held  with the participation of political forces.

According to the Financial Rating of the Armenian Banks, prepared by  IC ArmInfo, the volume of agricultural crediting declined by 0.7% to  201.9 billion AMD ($ 312 million) in 2016, against the growth by  18.3% a year earlier. But the dynamics of lending to the industrial  sector, on the contrary, improved from 8.2% decline in 2015 to a  15.4% growth, amounting to 453.3 billion AMD ($ 936.7 million). In  the agricultural sector, over 19% of bad loans from the total volume  of hopeless, accumulated, and in the industrial sector  about 17%,  with the absolute value of bad loans growing 2.2 times in the annual  section, and 8.6% in the bad loans of the industrial sector. In the  total loan portfolio of banks, the share of lending to the industrial  sector is 17%, and that of agricultural loans 5.7%. For the year of  2016, the net profit of the banking system of Armenia sank by 30% to  18.3 billion drams ($ 37.8 million), which, in all probability, is  the result of clearing the loan portfolio from toxic credits. In  2015-2016, four banks emerged from the banking market: ProCredit,  BTA, Areximbank- Gazprombank Group and the Armenian Development Bank,  which combined with INECOBANK, Armeconombank, Ardshinbank and  Araratbank, respectively.

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