Pashinyan Again Tells People to Work Hard: "The government can't enter every home and change lives"
During the discussion of the draft state budget for 2020 in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made a final speech, addressing two questions "hanging in the air" in his formulation․
The first question is whether the 2020 draft budget revolutionary, and second, when will people experience any tangible change in their daily lives.
Pashinyan, speaking on the first question, recalled that as early as 2018, during the days of Velvet Revolution, he announced that in the next 1-2 years the state budget will increase by 30-35%.
“This has been one of the promises of the revolution. The revenue portion of the 2020 state budget exceeds that of the 2018 budget by 27.4%. If we add to this the 2018 performance indicators, which are already over 62 billion, it means that the budget growth is 33%. And if we add to our budget losses that we have had, for example, as a result of a change in the Tax Code and a change in the pension system, then our growth is at least 35%. This is the direct answer to the question of whether this budget is revolutionary. Yes, this budget is revolutionary because it is the exact fulfillment of the promise that I have personally made,” Pashinyan said.
Pashinyan went on to cite some of the state budget expenditures, noting that by 2020, projected capital expenditures are 135.1% more than the actual figure for 2018.
"By 2020, the budget for highway construction is as much as the total for budget for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Isn’t this revolutionary? We expect 120% growth in housing and utilities as compared to the 2018 budget. Have you seen many places in the world talking about 100, 125, up to 140% growth in the budget? How else does a revolution occur,” Pashinyan asked.
He went on to cite a 39.5% budgetary increase for the health sector, 34% for education, and 21% for social services, as compared to 2018.
The 2020 budget, according to Pashinyan, will increase expenditures by the Ministry of Defense by 28% and by the Ministry of the Environment by 41%.
Pashinyan then spoke about changes in people's lives, highlighting road improvements, reforms in the health and social spheres, an increase of salaries due to changes in the Tax Code and pension system, improvement of army food, increase of salaries of the military etc.
He thus argued that people in Armenia have felt positive changes in their lives since he took office in 2018
“To those people who keep asking when they will see changes in their lives, I can only say that their lives will only get worse. And most importantly, what has changed is the idea, philosophy and ideology of changing human life. Back in the day, people from this podium were telling people their lives would change by giving them four kilos of rice as charity. The government today says, dear compatriots, life changes with work. The government can't come into your homes and change your life. The government can create conditions for you to earn your livelihood through honest, fair work,” Pashinyan said.