Thursday, February 8 2024 16:34
Naira Badalian

Armenia`s premier warns against misappropriation of funds 

Armenia`s premier warns against misappropriation of funds 

ArmInfo. The Government of Armenia will not abandon the program of subsidizing loans for the  creation of intensive gardens, even against the background of identifying cases of abuse during its implementation. "Financing will continue, and let those who steal be responsible for it," Prime  Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on February 8 at a cabinet meeting, during which changes were made to the program.

As Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan stated, presenting the draft  decision, from 2018 to the end of 2023, with state support, an  agreement was signed on the creation of intensive gardens with an  area of about 7,000 hectares. More than 100 billion drams have  already been invested in this area of agriculture.

At the same time, there remains great interest in the creation of  intensive gardens with government support and the introduction of  modern irrigation systems. In this regard, despite the fact that the  program was originally planned to end in 2023, the authorities  decided to extend it until the end of 2025 and make a number of  changes.

Thus, the authorities are refusing privileges for land above the  norm. The draft also proposes to allow the issuance of loans in  foreign currency. It is also recommended to stimulate the production  of pulses to increase self-sufficiency. At the same time, to increase  production of high-value crops, loans will be subsidized at a higher  interest rate - 12 percentage points instead of 9 percentage points.  The provision on the return of funds provided with state assistance  in the event of deficiencies identified in the post- investment  period has been clarified.

According to Pashinyan, the area is of strategic importance for  Armenia, including from the point of view of competent management of  water resources. The election program of the party in power, the  Prime Minister recalled, states that the Cabinet should promote the  creation of 1,000 hectares of intensive gardens annually. "The  certificate states that we have established intensive gardens with an  area of 7 thousand hectares, but we must record that the figure most  likely does not reflect objective reality, since we have cases of  uncovering abuses, well, at least there are suspicions that gardens  no, but there was funding," the prime minister noted. At the same  time, the head of the Cabinet believes that this does not mean that  the authorities should abandon the program, it just needs to be  improved.

Mr Kerobyan, in turn, noted that the identified violations concern  only 0.2% or 234 million drams of the total volume of mobilized 100  billion drams. At the same time, he emphasized, the violations do not  relate to theft, but to fraud on the part of the beneficiaries of the  program.  "My approach is as follows: whether budget funds were  misappropriated or not, and in fact, it doesn't matter to me who  misappropriated," concluded Nikol Pashinyan.   

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