HY RU EN

Vahe Sarukhanyan

Hrant Bagratyan Targets Inaccurate Government Economic Stats

Armenia’s 2011 budget – $2.3 billion; Azerbaijan – $18 billion

Today, former Armenian Prime Minister and economist Hrant Bagratyan took aim at various government officials and lambasted them for their inaccurate forecasts and lack of professionalism.

First on the list was Gagik Minasyan, a member of the ruling Armenian Republican Party, who yesterday commented on the predicted economic growth in Armenia for 2011. “Wasn’t that the same Gagik Minasyan who forecasted a 4% inflation rate at the beginning of 2010? We were saying 7-12%. Who was right? Yesterday he should have apologized,” Bagratyan said.

The former PM then chided Minasyan and other government officials for posing as professional economists.

“How can it be that such people stand before news reporters and claim to know what they are talking about? Let’s just say that I have hundreds of students who could be better ministers,” Bagratyan joked.

Turning his ire to government statistics on the state of small and medium-sized businesses in Armenia, Bagratyan pointed out that there are 80,000 registered commercial enterprises in the country but that only 10,000 are active today.

“They don’t tell you that 7,000 out of these 10,000 belong to oligarchs,” he stated.

Bagratyan said that government pressure on small and medium businesses would increase and that the sector wouldn’t experience any real growth.

The economist added that government claims that the 2011 budget would exceed that of 2010 by 25 billion AMD was inaccurate when you factor in the 9.4% inflation rate given that the government had merely forecast 4%.

Bagratyan went on to say that this year’s budget would be less than that of 2007.

“In 2007, Armenia’s budget was $3 billion and this year it will only amount to $2.3 billion. Now let’s look at Azerbaijan. In 2007, their budget was $8 billion and in 2011 it will top $18 billion.”