Armenian opposition party suggests distributing 5-10 percent of GDP to citizens as free assistance

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YEREVAN, April 21. /ARKA/. The opposition Bright Armenia party in the parliament has suggested that the government distribute 5-10% of GDP as free assistance to citizens of the country. The proposal was voiced by the head of the party’s parliamentary faction Edmon Marukyan.

To ground his proposal he referred to some foreign countries which he said have allocated a portion of their GDP as assistance to citizens. He argued that the measures of the Armenian government designed to support businesses and citizens imply difficult procedures, which are causing systemic and software problems. According to him, the entire amount of the government support amounts to only 0.84% of GDP.

According to him, the bulk of 150 billion drams of government assistance will be returned in the form of taxes. ‘The government is subsidizing only interests on loans, and together with social support they do not reach 1% of the country’s GDP,” Marukyan said at a briefing on Monday in parliament.

Marukyan argued that instead of adopting a string of anti-crisis measures the government should have adopted two- economic and social support. “We believe that it’s not too late to provide state support to citizens. Otherwise, it will lead to a great social and economic collapse,” he said.

“The consequences of the coronavirus shock is a sort of test for the government and in my opinion it is failing it,” he said.

According to the preliminary statistical data, in absolute terms, Armenia’s GDP at the end of 2019 stood at 6 trillion 551 billion and 849 million drams. The largest share was contributed by the manufacturing industry (793.4 billion drams), agriculture (761.1 billion drams), wholesale and retail trade, car and motorcycle repair (745.1 billion drams) and real estate operations (510.1 billion drams). -0-

The Armenian government has designed 14 measures to counteract the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. Six have been designed to show support to agriculture, tourism, SMEs, microbusiness and other industries, and eight to show support to various groups of the population.

Armenia declared a 30-day state of emergency on March 16 to contain the spread of the disease and imposed stringent restrictions on free movement of people banning also some types of economic activity. On April 13, the government extended the state of emergency for another month, allowing simultaneously some businesses to reopen.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases have grown to 1,339. Some 580 patients have recovered and 22 people have died.

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