ArmInfo. The head of the Ministry of Economy of Armenia Suren Karayan does not agree with the forecasts of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on the further reduction of the country's population. "At least in the line of economic development, I can say that the growth tendencies we recorded indicate the opposite: the activation of the economy will contribute to the growth of the living standards of the population of Armenia, which in turn will lead to demographic growth and will stimulate migration to the RA," said Suren Karayan October 18 at a meeting with journalists. According to UNFPA, at the current pace of development - economic and demographic - the population of the republic will continue to decline, reaching from the current 3 million (according to statistical data) to 2.5 million by 2035.
According to Suren Karayan, today, based on the fixed indicators, it is possible to state with certainty that the economic policy of the Armenian government fully justified itself. "That vision of economic development, which was announced exactly one year ago, is justified and realizable," he said.
As the head of the Ministry of Economy pointed out, when developing economic policy the main emphasis was placed on the formation of the exporting economy. "The results that were recorded during 8 months of 2017, in particular, 21.1% growth in exports of goods, suggest that by the results of this year the share of exports of goods and services in GDP will be increased from 33% in 2016 year to 37-38%. In the coming years we expect to bring the figure to 40-45%," the minister said. In general, in January-August this year, exports amounted to $ 1383.2 million, compared with the same period in 2016, recording growth of $ 246.3 million, or 21%. Exports to CIS countries grew by 33%, the EU by 32.6%, an unprecedented growth in exports recorded the Iranian direction - by 11.2%, while exports to the UAE increased 2.2 times.
According to the Minister, for the first half-year Armenia recorded GDP growth at the level of 5.9%. Double-digit growth was recorded in the spheres of industry, trade and services. In general, progressive growth is registered in the industrial sector, GDP growth here was 7.7%, and in the spheres of trade and services - 8.1%. In particular, the main locomotive of economic growth was the sphere of industry with a 12.4% growth, output in the manufacturing industry increased by 16.4%.
In January-July of 2017, the production of beverages, including brandy, wine - by 35.3%, textile products - by 47.4%, clothes - 24.4%, pharmaceuticals - 17.6%, also registered impressive growth. Electric appliances - in 2,6 times, and also jewels of 40,3%. According to the results of the first half of 2017, in the manufacturing industry, a significant increase in labor productivity was registered - about 20%. "Among the industries the most inclusive growth can be provided by the manufacturing industry," the minister said.
The budget of Armenia in 2017 provides for GDP growth at the level of 3.2%. However, recently, taking into account the positive trends and based on the forecasts of the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance raised forecasts for economic growth for 2017 to 4.3%, against last year's 0.2% against the forecast 2.9% growth. The year 2018, according to the draft budget, the Armenian government promises to close already with GDP growth at 4.5%. Meanwhile, IMF experts forecast the growth of Armenia's GDP in 2017 by 3.5% with a slowdown in 2018 to 2.9%. Experts of the World Bank believe that the prospects for economic growth and poverty reduction in Armenia are significantly uncertain. In their opinion, risks remain in the country, related both to the internal situation and external factors. As such, the forthcoming presidential elections are scheduled for April 2018 and the formation of a new government, as well as possible new Western sanctions against Russia. An unclear situation remains about the nuclear deal with Iran. These risks justify caution in forecasting economic growth in the coming years.