On August 14, 2020, the RA Minister of Economy Tigran Khachatryan held a press conference at the RA Ministry of Economy dedicated to the economic programs for neutralization of the Coronavirus-driven economic impact.
The Minister referred in detail to the 23rd and 24th measures developed by the Ministry and approved by the Government on August 13, 2020.
Tigran Khachatryan noted that the goal of the 23rd measure is the provision of assistance to Armenian businesses in certain spheres directly related to tourism to alleviate their financial problems, ensure the continuity of their activities, and maintain existing jobs.
“This is a significant support to the sector; we also have feedback and assessments from the private sector that this support will greatly help them plan their activities properly and overcome difficulties. We have had a number of discussions and direct communication with various unions and organizations representing the sector, and have come to the conclusion that one of the main problems the organizations face is securing of staff and jobs. We have a situation when organizations have a more than 50% reduced turnover and, on the other hand, a desire to keep jobs and continue to operate despite the difficulties. The goal is to secure the staff. We are confident that the 23rd measure will help the organizations secure their staff and by enduring the coming difficulties they will achieve necessary indicators for resumption of activities,” said the Minister of Economy.
The purpose of the 24th measure is to help businesses engaged in processing of agricultural raw materials, including grapes, mitigate the risks associated with the current liquidity of their finished product due to the spread of the Coronavirus, and attract additional funding needed for procurement of grapes.
“We targeted the assistance to organizations and farming households, especially during the grape purveyance period. This year differs from previous years in that, as a result of the Coronavirus spread, the companies producing and selling wine and brandy have reduction in sales in both the domestic and foreign markets. One of the special conditions of the support program is that the money is not received by the organizations, but by the farming households that have sold grapes to the procuring organizations,” said Tigran Khachatryan.
The Minister also informed that the autumn-sown wheat program was launched, adding that it has a special goal and ways of regulation.
“We have stated that one of the main problems in growing wheat in Armenia is the use of low-quality seeds, as a result of which the efficiency is significantly reduced. And this problem is especially present in mostly small-scale farming households. The Government has stated that in the coming year it will promote and financially support all farming households which will choose to buy seeds from seed supplying companies available in the market instead of using their own stocked seeds,” the Minister emphasized.
According to Tigran Khachatryan, quality seeds have a higher value than food wheat, which is about 100-120 Armenian drams (AMD), therefore it was announced that in case a farming household, which cultivates 2-20 hectares of land, buys seeds from a supplier in the market, the Government will pay 70 AMD for each kilogram of wheat.
“21,446 beneficiaries received assistance from the agricultural sector lending support program. That is, no matter how much we are convinced that the banking system implies high requirements before making a decision on the creditworthiness of organizations, the number of 21,446 beneficiaries means that we have quite a large number of creditworthy businesses that are able to benefit from agricultural support programs. As for the decision made yesterday, we also have the list of those new organizations that benefit from preferential lending framework. And all discussions reveal that both the banking system and the businesses will be able to attract sufficient funds under such conditions,” the Minister added.
The Minister of Economy briefly presented also the process of implementation of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 19th measures for neutralization of the Coronavirus-driven economic impact.
Summing up the press conference, the Minister in his closing speech said: “We will continue the sectoral meetings and discuss specific problems of the organizations. We have decided to target the specific issues of each sphere and direct our forthcoming support measures to solution of emerging or already existing, pending issues in a focused, targeted way.”