Tuesday, April 10 2018 12:20
Naira Badalian

The Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia denies the existence of corruption risks in the process of implementation of the state program for the purchase of agricultural machinery in leasing mode.

The Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia denies the existence of corruption risks in the process of implementation of the state program for the purchase of agricultural machinery in leasing mode.

ArmInfo. Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia disproves the existence of corruption risks in the process of  implementation of the state program for the purchase of agricultural machinery in leasing. This was stated by the head of the department Ignaty Arakelyan at a meeting with journalists, commenting on information about abuses in the framework of the state program.

In his turn, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Robert Makaryan said that the state program to promote the acquisition of agricultural machinery in financial leasing (leasing) was adopted in March 2017. Actual sales started in late April.

Within the framework of the program, potential beneficiaries of the program - farmers, agricultural cooperatives and communities, were given the opportunity to lease various agricultural equipment on the following terms: prepayment - 20%, interest rate - 2% per annum (7% subsidized by the state), maturity - 3- 10 years depending on the type of equipment: harvesters - 10 years, tractors - 6 years, and other agricultural machinery - 3 years. The participants of the program are "Development and Investment Corporation of Armenia" (DICA, formerly referred to as "SME Investments"), universal credit companies (UKC) "Card Agro Credit", "Farm Credit Armenia", leasing company "ACBA Leasing", as suppliers Spezmash LLC (mainly imports Belarusian and Russian agrotechnics), OOO Grashk Aigi (importer of European technology), Motoblok LLC, Haloper LLC and CARD AgroService CJSC (supplier of American machinery).  The main goal of the program, as the deputy minister pointed out, is to modernize the republican park of agricultural machinery, since the use of worn out and out-dated agricultural machinery affects the profitability of agro-enterprises. The implementation of the program will allow subsidizing 500 units of equipment by 2.8 billion drams a year, which will ensure the renewal of 2% of the farm machinery fleet. At the same time, if there is more demand, the government is ready to increase the financing of the program.

For today, the Ministry of Agriculture is satisfied with the results of the state assistance program - in 2017, about 165 units of agricultural machinery were sold. For the first quarter of this year, Armenian farmers purchased 43 units of equipment for 114 million drams. At the same time, according to the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, the volumes of American and European equipment, more expensive and more qualitative, are increasing every year - for 6 months of 2017, imports were 2.5 times higher than sales for the entire 2016 year. According to Robert Makaryan, the course of the program was positively assessed not only by specialists in Armenia. Experts of the World Bank (WB) called it one of the best in the world practice. Perhaps, soon the Georgian partners will take advantage of the Armenian experience.

Concerning the information in the media that despite the fact that the program was originally intended for the average farmer, in practice it is used by large business, or the companies created a month earlier, and the farmer is again left aside, or at best can to take advantage of agrotechnics while "hiring out", Robert Makaryan noted that the Ministry of Agriculture does not care who buys agricultural equipment - "the main thing is that it reaches the main addressee - the farmer."

In his turn, Minister Ignati Arakelyan added: "The Ministry of Agriculture constantly monitors the course of the program for the detection of abuses and for today does not see corruption risks."

Recall that on May 18, 2017 at a meeting of the Cabinet approved the plan for the organization of a state- private machine and tractor station (MTS). As Ignaty Arakelyan noted, earlier, the department started accepting applications for participation in the program for the organization of the station. Only one company, Idas LLC, responded to the state's offer. In this regard, the minister suggested in the first half of 2017 from the government's reserve fund 700 million drams to be allocated to implement the program and purchase the necessary agricultural equipment. The Ministry of Agriculture will provide this equipment on a gratuitous basis to the Agricultural Development Fund for further allocation to farmers.

 For their part, private traders will invest 242 million drams. After 4 years, the minister said, the funds will be returned with interest, in the amount of 926 million.  Meanwhile, in March this year. the media reported that the Armenian Accounting Board - now the Audit Chamber, during the inspections in the Ministry of Agriculture revealed a number of violations. In particular, it was noted that 4 applications were submitted for the organization of the agricultural station, but Idas was chosen, which was established a month earlier - on April 28, the authorized capital was 50 thousand drams. Meanwhile, in the AP report it was noted that the company had no experience of relevant work, that "Idas" plans to purchase 7 tractors each worth 90.8 million drams, which are used in construction and heavy industry.

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