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2018 November 1

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Anti-Corruption Daily

by ar_david_hh

All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.

SIS chief says although they couldn’t recover the weapons that the soldiers used to fire on March 1st, they have the weapons that were later used by the police to shoot at a fire range with the intention of generating 1,000 bullet shells with the purpose of replacing the crime-scene shells with those. https://youtu.be/wCcJpu4XSzA

A criminal case is launched against the former mayor of Meghri and his secretary for abuse of power. They are accused of extorting money from low income families who were supposed to receive free apartments in a newly built buildings after losing their homes in a fire. The mayor allegedly told the families to pay 36,000/sqM to a foundation managed by him. Many families refused. He then broke the law again by selling the free apartments to residents who didn’t qualify for the housing.

The mayor and his secretary are told not to leave the country.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/953049.html

Former Transport Minister and Yerevan Mayor Gagik Beglaryan and HHK MP Sedrakyan are questioned as witnesses by SIS in a corruption case https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952994.html

1,200 jobs will be created by a company which will create a new 250MW electric plant powered by gas. The deal was signed on 2017. The recent negotiations resulted in the construction costs going down http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/147486

Economy report:

It’s expected that the economic hardships in Russia and the lowering copper costs will negatively affect the 2019 budget https://armenpress.am/arm/news/953057.html

2019 GDP Per Capita is expected to be $4,604, which is few hundred dollars above the 2018 mark. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/953051.html

... 96% of the increase in commercial bank deposits on September were due to foreign investments. This signals an increased interest by foreigners and diasporans to keep their funds in ARM. Total transfers rose by 13% compared to previous month, and up by 25% compared to same period of 2017 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/953040.html

Unemployment down 0.4% vs 2017. A 43% increase in the number of people who found a job, vs 2017 same period. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952988.html

Economic activity is 6.6%. It has gone down recently, but is still higher than the 2017 period. Services industry up 18.8%. Educational related industry down 0.8%. Accommodation and food servicing industry up 29.6%, recreational/arts/amusement industry up 35%. Internal trade up 10.1%. Other details here... https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952964.html

Parliament has again voted in favor of the mass amnesty bill. It will exclude people who committed serious crimes and caused a death. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952958.html

The life-serving prisoners will no longer be kept separated from other inmates. Everyone serves together. Prisoners will be able to be transferred to facilities closer to where their relatives live. They’ll be able to buy more products from outside https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952954.html

Parliament is electing a new Prime Minister today. Pashinyan is the only candidate. He is answering questions...

... he says the meeting with John Bolton was an important diplomatic event. Says the concerning reports in the media are exaggerated. He told Bolton that Armenia’s relations with Iran and Georgia are above the global political problems in the region, and that Bolton accepted and understood the situation.

... Shawarmazanov asks about Alaverdi Copper mine suspension. (the company was fined for greatly exceeding the pollution limits, and later suspended operations due to financial issues with the creditor, didn’t have money to install pollution filtering facility). Pashinyan replies that the production is important but dozens of thousands of nearby residents should not be poisoned so that 600 people can keep their jobs. Says the government should work to solve their employment problem. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/953034.html

.. MP questions on how the government plans to increase the wages. Pashinyan answers that the wages were already increased on July 1st for most workers by reducing the taxes that they paid towards the Social Security. It is planed to reduce the income tax from 36% to 23%, which is effectively a pay raise. It’ll be reduced to 20% in the following 5 years. This will boost the investments and the tech sector and attract more money https://armenpress.am/arm/news/953032.html —— https://armenpress.am/arm/news/953002.html

... says the public education sector has 49k worker spots, but 11k more people work and receive wages. This results in 49k teachers’ wages to be split and be lower than what they should receive. There are 18k people working for the government. Questions the efficiency and the need to have that many.

Says they chose to significantly increase (few month ago) the pensions for those who lived below the poverty levels, instead of increasing pensions for everyone by a little bit. The budget for these expenses will be increased by AMD 20bln for 2019.

Says the bigger issues is that there are 400k wage earners and 800k who rely on support. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/953032.html

Says the manufacturing industry has only seen a 0.9% increase last month because of the suspension of a large mining company. Despite that, the manufacturing processing branch has seen a 11.4% growth since last year.

They were expecting the construction field overall to shrink due to Amulsar suspension, but it has seen a 3.5% growth since 2017. That growth was double-digit before the suspension.

These mining suspensions have resulted in overall 15% less exports($13mln) this month compared to 2017.

On the other hand, textile exports rose from $13mln to $24mln for the period.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952998.html

There has been a 30% increase in job openings and 70% more hardware investments compared to 2017, in areas where the government gave new investors temporary tax relief https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952998.html

150 small hydro power plans were audited as part of Pashinyan’s pledge to stop the water system abuse. 95% of those hydros didn’t have a water meter. Many operators unlawfully installed larger generators and turned them into a large scale electricity plants while paying less taxes and using more water. The government won't take away businesses from anyone, but they’ll take measures to recover the lost revenues and bring them to legal field, says Pashinyan. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952984.html

Says various law enforcement bodies are currently investigating corruption and neglection cases totaling $200mln https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952978.html

Says 13,000 more people came to country than left in the past 6 months. For comparison, 9,000 more left than came for the same period of 2017 http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/261793

Voting: The Parliament has failed to elect a Prime Minister the second time. There will be a new Parliamentary MP Elections. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/952980.html

President Sarkissian signs an order to organize new Parliamentary elections on December 9th https://factor.am/95910.html

Freedom House has moved Armenia from Partly Free to Free for internet access. The organization says the main reason is the widespread and effective use of internet during the Velvet Revolution. Armenia and Gambia saw the biggest gains in the latest report. Georgia and Armenia are the 1st/2nd most free countries in Eurasia. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/147484

4 ethnic Armenian Congressional candidates are favored to win the mid-term elections in US https://www.a1plus.am/1647778.html

Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/9tdnlp/anticorruption_nov12018/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports
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