Armenia's new prime minister draws criticism over proposed reforms

By bne IntelliNews September 26, 2016

Armenia's new prime minister Karen Karapetyan has moved to revamp the economy and urban development ministries in his first week in office, drawing criticism from the ministers in office. Economy Minister Artsvik Minasyan has reportedly expressed his intention to resign, Hraparak daily newspaper reported on September 23.

Karapetyan was appointed prime minister on September 14 following the resignation of his predecessor Hovik Abrahamyan. He is largely respected in Armenia and draws on an extensive experience in corporate management at Russia's gas giant Gazprom. In his first weeks in power, he appears to have moved to enhance efficiency in public administration in Armenia, which has drawn some criticism from established politicians.

Karapetyan initiated a bill to rename the economy ministry into the investments and business support ministry, in an attempt to transform the institution into a catalyst for foreign and domestic investments. “I want to make it clear to entrepreneurs and investors that there is an agency to which they can present their grievances, demands, objections and advice,” he reportedly said during a cabinet meeting, according to Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)'s Armenian service.

Minasyan is reportedly slated to be replaced because he is not business-savvy enough, and is likely to be reappointed as environment minister. He publicly criticised Karapetyan's decision to revamp the ministry by changing its name and removing some of its responsibilities - such as those of overseeing the tourism and aviation sectors. “The economy is not just about investments and support for entrepreneurship,” RFE/RL cited him as saying. The minister reportedly had a week of tense exchanges with Karapetyan over his decision to grant tax breaks to a private company. Minasyan's party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, came to Minasyan's defence, accusing the new prime minister of political showmanship. 

Another ministry that Karapetian is seeking to change is the urban development ministry, which he suggested be turned into a committee on architecture and heritage preservation. Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosian criticised the move by saying that merging urban development and cultural preservation could jeopardise preservation efforts.

In a frank speech on September 22, Karapetyan also decried public employees' abuse of procurement services like travel tickets, and said that he will institute an electronic platform to crack down on “theft” of state funds. He did not elaborate on the officials who he believes perpetrated the theft and the extent of it.

Meanwhile, Haykakan Zhamanak daily reported that the new head of government is working on the 2017 state budget, most of which was decided before he took power. The country's state revenue committee reportedly informed him that it would be unable to raise the AMD1.14bn (€2.16bn) in revenues from taxes, as stipulated in the tentative budget draft. As such, the government would have to readjust its spending. 

Related Articles

World Bank improves Eurasian growth forecasts

Eurasian economies are set for a modest recovery next year with growth projected to accelerate to 3.3% in Central Asia from 2.0% expected for 2016, the World Bank said in a new report released on ... more

Armenian business tycoon goes back on vow to run in parliamentary elections

Ara Abrahamyan, a Russia-based Armenian business tycoon, has announced that he will not be running in the country's parliamentary elections in 2017, going back on his earlier word, Radio Free Europe/ ... more

Armenian government passes bill criminalising corruption among high-ranking officials

The Armenian government approved a draft bill to criminalise the “illegal enrichment” of high-ranking state officials on November 18, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. The ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or 12 months full access inc. Magazine and Weekly Newspaper for just $119/year.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

Thank you for purchasing a bne IntelliNews subscription. We look forward to serving you as one of our paid subscribers. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you have provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. The confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.