by Ashot Safaryan
Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan has called for taking his statements the right way, RFE/RL Armenian Service said.
Earlier on Monday, visiting a pro-government youth camp in central Armenia, Abrahamian indicated that he needs more time to substantially improve tax collection. "Did you think that I will wave a magic wand and everyone will stop evading taxes?" he said. "No. That [tax collection] means a financial loss for people, they don't give away money easily. We need time to overcome this difficulty." It is noteworthy that at a meeting held one month after his appointment as prime minister in April, Abrahamian gave more than 100 wealthy entrepreneurs until July 1 to stop underreporting their earnings to face a tough crackdown by tax authorities. The latter have clearly failed to significantly increase the government's tax revenue since then, however.
A few days ago, Abrahamyan has softened his attitude towards tax evasion, which the opposition camp qualified as failure in the activity of the prime minister and the government. Meanwhile, Wednesday, before starting the meeting of the Republican Party Executive Body, Hovik Abrahamyan told reporters that 1 July is the deadline after which the government will launch a work with entrepreneurs.
"What did I say? I said that after 1 July we must start working together to bring the turnover tax from 3.5% to 1%, and reporting of earnings will become compulsory for everyone. It is time to start this work and the finance ministry is regularly publishing appropriate reports. Quite recently, the work for the past month was presented in the Government," the prime minister said. As for his latest statement, Abrahmyan said: "I mean that it is impossible to liquidate the entire shadow economy at once. However, we will bring the shadow to minimum in the succession of time."