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Seda Hergnyan

Hetq Takes High-Tech Ministry to Court Over Information Refusal

Hetq will file a lawsuit against Armenia’s Ministry of High-Tech Industry for not providing the names of the IT companies that received government financial assistance.

On December 1, 2022, the government adopted a decision to provide 10 billion drams of state support to organizations operating in the IT sector. The need for support was explained by the losses suffered by the companies, which were caused primarily by the devaluation of the Armenian dram against the dollar.

Despite Hetq’s many requests, the ministry has avoided providing the names of the companies receiving this assistance. Hetq requested two types of information: the list of companies that received support and the amount of support.

The ministry first argued that the applications are still being studied, and then, that not all companies have signed contracts. On May 29, Narek Melkumyan, Secretary General of the Ministry of High-Tech Industry, replied that the list of companies and the information about the amount of support they received contain trade secrets.

Lawyer Ara Ghazaryan says the ministry must provide such information since it deals with taxpayer money and the public has the right to know.  

"A trade secret is usually defined by a contract, by which the parties decide that it is a trade secret. The ministry should show the reason why it refuses to provide the information. Spending public money cannot be a trade secret," says Ghazaryan,

The Ministry of High-Tech Industry received 510 requests for state support from organizations in the IT sector. 321 of them met the grant requirements. Thus, the 321 organizations will receive state support. It is assumed that some have already received it. Each organization has received the right to apply to the program once.

Top photo: Armenia Minister of High-Tech Industry Robert Khachatryan

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