Press conference of the NKR Minister of Finance
Last week, NKR Minister of Finance Grigory Martirosyan met with journalists
He briefed on the Ministry’s activities in 2017 and the plans for 2018, answering also the journalists’ questions.
Mr. Martirosyan also presented the structure of the budget for 2018. He touched upon the tax policy, reforms in the field of state revenues, and other areas of the Ministry of Finance.
Presenting the economic indicators for 2017, the Minister noted that the year is completed with GDP growth of 15%. Despite the fact that stable growth of GDP has been ensured in recent years, G. Martirosyan considers this percentage of growth to be unprecedented. By the way, 6% of this indicator was provided by the mining industry, and the rest – by other sectors of the economy (about 2% - individual industries, 1.5% - construction, 1.2% - agriculture, 3.8% - financial sector). Official statistics are not yet available, but according to forecasts, the volume of the industrial output will make 84 billion drams, and real growth - at least, 30%. The volume of construction works will make about 53 billion drams, agricultural production - about 75 billion drams with real growth - 10%. According to G. Martirosyan, in 2017, there was no sharp rise in prices. Prices are relatively stable.
Presenting the budget for 2017, the Minister noted that the fulfillment of own revenues had amounted to 41.1 billion drams, instead of the planned 38.5 billion drams. The overwhelming part of the volume of state revenues, are, naturally, tax revenues - 39.7 billion drams. Overfulfillment made more than 6%. This indicator was fixed for the first time in the last ten years. Compared to the last year, tax revenues increased by more than 22%. A significant portion of the tax amounts was transferred by 7 out of 100 large taxpayers. The expenditure part of the state budget made 92 billion drams, execution - 97%. The budget deficit was slightly more than 3 billion drams, instead of the planned 5 billion 700 million drams. The Minister noted that all the social and economic obligations had been fulfilled.
The new budget was adopted in accordance with the new order of the Constitution. Revenues will make 45 billion drams, expenses - 101,5 billion drams. The budget of the current year is more than the previous one by 7 billion drams. Of these, AMD 5 billion will be allocated to economic programs, which Mr. Martirosyan considers an important manifestation of the economic policy. The only way to improve the living standard of the population is to implement the economic development programs. This does not mean that certain part of social obligations will not be fulfilled: within a year, new social programs will be financed. New programs are envisaged in the health sector: the funding will increase, thanks to additional funds, and a number of important programs will be implemented.
In order to increase the efficiency of work in the tax sphere, reforms are being consistently implemented. The Minister attaches great importance to the relations of taxpayer-tax agency, the strengthening of trust between them. The tax agency also conducts daily work to increase the level of awareness of taxpayers. Last year, a new initiative appeared - the encouragement of law-abiding taxpayers. On the eve of the New Year, 57 taxpayers were rewarded. The Ministry pays great attention to the retraining of the personnel and modernization of the system.
Reforms will be implemented to improve the business environment, which is closely connected with the tax sphere, and it is no accident that at the end of the year a tax package of 18 projects was submitted for approval.
The Ministry will raise the control function to a new level to exclude shadow phenomena in the tax and other spheres and bring taxpayers to the tax field.
"In 2018, the Ministry launched a new stage of reforms that will be carried out in 4 directions - improving the business environment, improving the control, strengthening the relationship of taxpayer-tax agency, development of the electronic management system," the Minister said.
At the request of the journalists, Mr. Martirosyan also presented the directions of distribution of the off-budget funds.
They also touched upon the programs funded from the reserve fund. It was noted that the expenses of the reserve fund should be more transparent, and Mr. Martirosyan replied that in accordance with the requirements of the law, all the decisions on financing from the reserve fund are submitted to the relevant bodies, including the National Assembly.
In 2019, a new accumulative pension system will be launched in Artsakh, which is aimed at improving the social status of pensioners.
Despite the active reforms in the tax sphere, no corresponding development, in particular, in the sphere of small and medium business, is observed. The media representatives asked the Minister about the reasons. What hinders the development of small and medium-sized businesses? According to G. Martirosyan, there are two reasons - insufficient study of the market before launching the activities and the lack of entrepreneurial skills and resources.
Why are reforms in the tax sphere so frequent, and how expedient are they? In response, the Minister noted that the need for changes is always felt, but in the tax sphere, in fact, stability is required. Since this is the key to long-term investments: frequent changes in the rules of the game repel the investors. It is necessary to develop a tax code, which will solve most of the issues raised.
The Minister noted the importance of cooperation with journalists in order to inform broad sections of the population about the activities of the Ministry and expressed readiness to make this cooperation closer.