Grisha Balasanyan

Angry Words: What the Old Woman Told MP Postanjyan

Tensions continued unabated in Armenia’s parliament regarding the recently passed bill to raise the monthly minimum wage by a scant 2,500 AMD ($6.30) starting January 1, 2012.

Taking the podium, Heritage Party MO Zarouhie Postanjyan said that as she entered the parliament earlier in the morning an old woman approached, berating the fact that some MPs had complained that their 240,000 AMD monthly wage didn’t allow them to buy new suits or sports coats.

“Certain figures show that 50,000 people in Armenia are receiving the 32,500 AMD wage. Can you imagine how they wake up every day knowing the trials and tribulations facing them?” Postanjyan declared.

The current minimum monthly wage now stands at 32,500 AMD ($81)

The MP also said that many experts put the shadow economy in Armenia at 70%, while the government claims it is only 30%.

She also called for a reduction in the staffs of regional governors, arguing that most only exist on paper in order to receive wages. Postanjyan also called for a 50% cut to state funding of the presidential office and staff.

ARF MP Artzvik Minasyan said the government’s claim that it doesn’t have the money for a larger increase is a falsehood.

“We can’t tell hungry kids that our government can’t find the 16.7 billion AMD needed to keep them above the minimum threshold. I will give up my parliament seat if the government does what needs to be done,” exclaimed Minasyan.