On May 6, 2021, the regular session of the RA Government took place, which was chaired by the Acting RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Before discussing the issue on the agenda, the Acting Prime Minister referred to the tax revenue indicators for April 2021, as well as the current results of tax reforms.
The Government made amendments and addenda to one of its previous decisions to effectively implement measures for prevention of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreading. Accordingly, it is proposed to clarify the provision on application of hospitalization or isolation in case of refusal to follow the defined measures by the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, as well as their family members who are not citizens of the Republic of Armenia. It is also planned to present a document certifying the fact of being vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19), a vaccination certificate, by a person entering the Republic of Armenia. The decision will also contribute to tourism development and activation of some sectors of the economy.
The executive approved the proposal to sign the agreement on “Armenia’s assistance to conflict-affected families” grant program from the funds of the State and Peacebuilding Fund between the Republic of Armenia and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The total budget of the program is $3,718,218. Four projects will be implemented within the grant program through realization of cash transfers to people displaced from Artsakh to Armenia and their host families, as well as paid public works project and temporary employment project for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Armenia. The purpose of the financial assistance is to provide temporary support for income generation of the affected families. The Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan noted that within the framework of the roadmap published by the Prime Minister in November 2020, social programs were and are currently implemented for displaced and affected compatriots.
The executive approved the RA draft law on “Making amendments to the RA Law on joint stock companies". The draft is intended to ensure protection of interests of small shareholders, as a result of which Armenia will mark its position improvement in the World Bank’s “Doing business” report under the index of “Protection of small shareholders’ interests". The bill was drafted in order to ensure the continued improvement of Armenia’s position in the said report under the index “Small shareholders’ protection”. In particular, the draft proposes to stipulate that an interested shareholder has no right to be present at the discussion or voting on the assembly’s decisions on transactions of interest. The bill also stipulates that the statutory requirement prescribed by law to notify shareholders at least 21 days in advance of the shareholders’ convention applies to all open joint stock companies, regardless of the number of shareholders. In the event of the draft being approved and acknowledged by the WB evaluation team as a reform, Armenia, instead of the current 7 points, will have 9 points for the First component’s “information disclosure” sub-index, and for the Second component’s “corporate transparency” sub-index it will have 6 points instead of the current 5. As a result, the points under the “Small shareholders’ protection” index in the “Doing Business 2022” report will become 40 out of possible 50 points, whereas the indicator on the distance of the “Small shareholders’ protection” index from the best result will become 80 instead of the expected 74 of the “Doing Business 2021” report.
The executive adopted a decision to provide for uninterrupted operation of the Arpa-Sevan tunnel, as well as provide irrigation water to the community lands under governance of the irrigation systems of the Sevan-Hrazdan water basin, as well as secure water saving in Lake Sevan. In particular, for the purposes of gradually raising the level of Lake Sevan, it is planned to carry out upgrade of equipment and modernization of valve units and water metering points of the Kechut Reservoir and Yeghegis hydro unit, and water metering points at the Arpa-Sevan tunnel outlet to transfer the maximum amount of water to Lake Sevan through the Arpa-Sevan tunnel. According to the justification document, the mentioned units have been operated since the day of the tunnel operation and never underwent capital renovation. Through physically and morally worn-out valve units and water metering devices it is really impossible to accurately manage the required water flows in the necessary direction, which causes inaccurate water metering and consequently inappropriate use of water. According to the technical design and estimation documents, it is envisaged to implement equipment upgrading and modernization works worth of 107,232.9 thousand Armenian drams.
The Government approved a program to neutralize land degradation in Armenia. It will contribute to conservation, use, and management of land resources. This will lead to the increase of the effectiveness of land management and the level of public awareness on desertification problems and their solution, as well as expand international cooperation.
The Government made addenda and amendments to one of its previous decisions to provide primary assistance to the Republic of Armenia citizens returning to Armenia, either forcefully or voluntarily. The latter will be provided with guidance and consulting services according to their needs. According to the justification document, the program consists of two components: provision of information support and guidance according to needs, as well as accommodation. The first component equally refers to the RA citizens who are forced to return or do that voluntarily, whereas the second component refers mostly to forcefully returning, and in some cases to voluntarily returning RA citizens, too. As a result, the returnees will be able to re-establish themselves and start a new life in the homeland with the state support. The adoption of this program is an important step towards resolving the issues arising from implementation of Armenia’s commitments under the Armenia-EU readmission agreement, which is also a necessary circumstance for the launch of a visa-liberalization dialogue between Armenia and the EU.