by Ashot Safaryan
Construction of the North-South road corridor proved in the focus of the behind-the-scenes struggle inside power in Armenia, MP Nikol Pashinyan said in the course of the parliamentary discussions on additional $170 million loan for construction of the road corridor, Monday.
"I'd like to congratulate Serzh Sargsyan on this jubilee loan - Armenia's foreign debt exceeded $4 billion," Pashinyan said adding that as parliamentarian he has always voted against new credit agreements. He said every new loan paves a way to new embezzlements, corruption schemes and siphon off money by the top leadership.
"The first thing Gagik Beglaryan did immediately after taking the office of the minister of transport and communications was to fire Ara Hovsepyan from the post of the investment program director. The latter is the right-hand of Serzh Sargsyan's son-in-law, whose 'political clan' from time to time 'attacks' the project. Actually, there is severe right for new loans," Pashinyan said.
According to him, the country's foreign debt grew thrice under Serzh-Sargsyan-Tigran Sargsyan tandem, amid 10% growth of poverty and population decline by 200,000 people. "What the raised loans were spent on and why the people living under poverty level have to redeem those loans, that is the question," the parliamentarian said.
According to ArmInfo's expert calculations based on the official statistics, the debt burden per capita grew from $1400 to $1500 in 2013, while foreign debt per capita grew from $1200 to $1300. In the crisis year 2009, this indicator was only $550. Considering the large-scale migration from the country, the number of the population is much lower than official data (from 3.027 million people in 2012 to 3,107 million people in 2013), the foreign debt burden per capital grew even higher. The share of the foreign debt in GDP of Armenia in 2009-2012 was 35%-38%, growing 26% in absolute term amid slackening GDP growth rates (given the 14% decline in 2009).
By statistical data, 87% or $3.395 bln of the foreign debt is the share of the government, with the remaining 13% or $508.3 mln being the share of the Central Bank. Armenia's total state debt as of Jan 1 2014 was 1.9 trillion drams or $4.6 bln with a 1.2% growth for December and a 5.5% growth for Jan-Dec. The share of the internal state debt is 15% or 277.7 bln drams ($684.7 mln) with a 0.6% growth for December and 8.7% growth for Jan-Dec. The share of the government bonds in the internal state debt for 2013 grew from 97.7% to 98.5% with a 9.7% year-over-year growth of the absolute indicator. The share of trade loans fell from 1.9% to 1.2% with a y-o-y decline of the absolute indicator by 33%. The remaining are guarantees that fell from 0.4% to 03% with a y-o-y decline of the absolute indicator by 10.5%.
As of Jan 1 2013, the state debt of Armenia was 1.8 trillion drams of $4.4 bln, including 1.5 trillion drams or $3.7 bln was the foreign debt and 255,5 bln drams or $633 mln - internal debt.