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November 1, 2002

ACNIS Roundtable on Tax and Fiscal Policy

Yerevan—The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) convened today a working seminar on “The Government’s Tax and Fiscal Policy.”

ACNIS research director Professor Tatoul Manasserian delivered welcoming remarks. “Our in-depth analyses have concluded that Armenia’s taxation system needs to undergo fundamental changes. Separating the total marketing area of Armenia into special tax zones would provide an opportunity to impose higher taxes on the regions of centralized capital and exorbitant profit. Trade centers in downtown Yerevan and its outskirts, as well as some areas where reopened industrial units are located, might be included among these higher-tax zones,” he said.

The keynote topic of Armenia’s taxation system was presented by Deputy Minister of State Revenue Armen Alaverdian. “In this present stage of economic development it is important, for the facilitation of economic progress in the regions, to exercise the powers that the state has delegated to local government bodies in terms of collecting and registering property and real-estate taxes as the main source of income for local community budgets,” he asserted.

National parliamentarian Smbat Yeghiazarian spoke about “The Practical Application of Tax Laws.” “Frequent changes of tax laws should be ruled out because businesspersons and investors very often feel confused and unprotected,” he said.

Economist Edward Aghajanov’s intervention was on “Economic Policy and State Budget.” “In the current conditions of a largely ‘hidden’ economy it is difficult to anticipate the financial assistance and support of the World Bank and IMF.”

Prime ministerial adviser Ararat Gomtsian focused his remarks on “The Impact of Flexible Taxation Policies on Economic Progress and the Proportional Development of Armenia’s Regions.” “The following principles should be laid out as the basis for regional government policy: strategic planning, effective utilization of the region’s potential, coordinated solutions to economic issues, strengthening of the social aspects of regional economic development, and implementation of projects based on a flexible taxation policy,” he said.

The formal deliberations were followed by a robust policy-oriented debate among Armenian Businessmen’s Association chairman Hovsep Seferian; National Citizens’ Initiative (NCI) councilmember Dr. Haik Sargsian; chief of the Taxation Department at the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Pailak Tadevosian; “Noyan Tapan” editor Harutiun Khachatrian; US Embassy economic adviser Armen Gomtsian; Small and Medium Business Union members Artak Arakelian and Stepan Aslanian; Barents Group economic adviser Annette Brown; AEPLAC executive manager Petros Dadayan; Socioeconomic Expert Council member Edward Tangian; and many others.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi Hovannisian and supported by the Lincy Foundation and a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2002, the Center focuses increasingly on public outreach, civic education, and applied research on critical public and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center and its activities, call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am

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