Lukashenko says he may quit as president
Belarus hits EU with tit-for-tat sanctions
Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters
Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko
Russian services PMI rises to 48.2, but remains underwater as recovery continues to slow
Russia to start mass vaccinations on December 7
Azerbaijan’s Aliyev calls on Armenia, Russia, Turkey and Iran to assist in creating Nakhchivan land corridor
FPRI BMB Russia: Sberbank releases a three-year transformation strategy to e-commerce concern
Ukraine’s banking sector continues recovery, but profits still lagging last year
Ukraine’s real wages up over 10% in October but have been stagnant in dollar terms for almost a year
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
Western Balkans plus Ukraine subsidised coal with over €900mn in 2018-2019
Estonian parcel robot firm Cleveron eyes €30mn state loan
Estonia’s chief auditor says €1bn in state COVID-19 loans issued haphazardly
Economic sentiment in CEE falls in November as recovery momentum splutters
Estonian animation studio Imepilt to hold IPO
Brighter days ahead: The economic bounce back in 2021
Central, Southeast Europe stock markets jump in anticipation of COVID-free future
VISEGRAD BLOG: An easing of trade tensions but still an uncertain situation for export-oriented Central Europe
Hungary's PM risks isolation as Poland mulls dropping EU budget veto
Poland ready to back down from veto of EU budget
Hungary's ruling party in damage control mode after MEP sex scandal bombshell
Poland’s PMI remains stuck just above the improvement line at 50.8 in November
Czech companies dominate this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE
Coronacrisis to get worse before it gets better forecasts wiiw
EU diplomats say no chance of Bulgaria removing veto for Skopje to start EU accession talks
IMF says downside risks to Albanian economy are increasing
EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Western Balkans commit to green agenda and regional common market at Sofia summit
Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities
Bosnia’s main ethnic parties fight to hold onto power in local elections
Southeast Europe’s EU members to get biggest boost from next budget and recovery funds
Bulgaria imposes 3-week lockdown to slow down COVID-19 spread
CEE politicians highlight trade and security ties as they congratulate Biden
Breakaway Transnistria fully under Sheriff’s control as Obnovlenie party sweeps board in parliament election
Moldova’s presidential election is over, now the battle for the parliament begins
Moldova’s foreign policy reset
Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect
Rising COVID-19 cases put intense pressure on CEE healthcare systems
MEPs urge European Commission to act against Hungarian media financing in North Macedonia and Slovenia
North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism
Retail surpass pre-crisis peak as Romanians shop instead of holiday
Romania’s stability election
Romanian venture capital firm Catalyst launches new €40mn-50mn fund for TMT
The state is back in business
Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Turkish number crunchers deliver November inflation surprise of 14%
Erdogan needs to go says analyst assessing Turkey’s economic collapse
Ukraine strikes deal with Turkey to produce killer drones instrumental in Karabakh conflict
In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers
Protesters flood Yerevan demanding Armenia’s “traitor” PM quit over Nagorno-Karabakh surrender
Who emerge as the real winners from the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market
Iran calls on Saudis to limit $67bn defence spending to Tehran’s $10bn
Iranian prosecutors pledge to pursue Trump for Soleimani killing even after he leaves White House
No reaction from Kazakh elites as bombshell FT report says Nazarbayev’s son in law siphoned millions from pipeline scheme
UK court freezes $5bn in assets connected to fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov
Attack of the Debt Tsunami: global debt soars to a new all-time high
Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion
Kyrgyzstan's China debt: Between crowdfunding and austerity
CFC joins RWC in assessing KAZ Minerals buyout offer as under-valuation
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
Mongolia’s wrestling culture: From the grasslands to the cage
No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote
A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote
Tajikistan revives on-off dispute with Iran
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
Turkmenistan: Everybody yurts, sometimes
Dirty money investigation reviews identified payments worth $1.4bn linked to Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan unveils extensive privatisation programme
Download the pdf version
Armenia’s government has proposed a budget with significantly higher revenues and expenses than in previous years.
The 2020 draft budget projects revenues of 1.7 trillion drams (about $3.6bn) and expenditures of 1.9 trillion drams ($4bn). That represents a 13% growth in revenues and 14% in expenditures from the 2019 budget. The increases over 2018’s budget are 27% and 29%, respectively.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said the substantially higher budget was a fulfilment of one of the key promises that he made in his protest campaign last year that propelled him to power.
“This is a revolutionary budget,” he said during a November 15 debate on the budget in parliament. “During the 2018 revolution when I was not yet prime minister, I publicly announced that the budget of Armenia should increase by 30-35 percent within one-to-two years. This was one of the promises of the revolution.” (He further explained that adjustments to the 2018 budget mean that the current draft in fact represents a full 35% increase in revenues.)
The revenue increase is largely based on increased tax receipts, in anticipation of a GDP growth rate of 4.9%, but officials have suggested that is a conservative projection. Artak Manukyan, a member of parliament from Pashinian’s My Step bloc, said that “in 2019 we predicted 4.9 percent growth and got 6 percent”. The government has suggested that growth could in fact reach 7-to-9% next year.
But independent economists suggest that 4.9% may be about right: Hrant Mikaelian, of the Yerevan think tank Caucasus Institute, wrote in a recent blog post that several factors that drove growth this year – including an increase in gambling-related revenues, mining income, and duties on cars – may have run out of steam and won’t continue to drive the economy in 2020. “So in reality, even 5 percent wouldn’t be a bad result,” Mikaelian wrote.
Increases in expenditures are expected across the board.
Pensions are set for a 10% increase in 2020, as will all spending on social programs, which represent about 26% of the budget. Healthcare is set for a larger increase in spending, 21%, much of which will be devoted to a controversial new universal mandatory health insurance program, which also envisages a 6% flat tax on every working Armenian’s income.
The defence budget has been reorganised, with funding for the defence industry shifted from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of High-Tech Industry. That funding will more than double, with a 122% increase. Ministry officials have not given much detail about what the boost would go for, but said that they intended to produce hardware both for domestic use and for possible export.
Spending on roads is slated to double and on irrigation infrastructure to triple.
The planned spending increases come even as the government reportedly failed to spend more than three-quarters of what it had allocated for capital expenditures in 2019. A report by the Yerevan think tank Center for Economic Development Initiatives found that the government spent only 24% of what it set aside in 2019 for infrastructure or investments in human capital. “The lack of implementation of the 2019 budget expenditures will have a negative impact on economic growth,” the report concluded.
“It’s a fact that there has been a serious non-implementation of the budget over the last two years,” Mikaelian told Eurasianet. “They simply aren’t making the needed investments and money is being saved, and at the same time they increase their own salaries.”
The budget is sure to pass, as Pashinian’s My Step coalition has a dominant majority in parliament. Of the two opposition parties in parliament, the Prosperous Armenia party has said it intends to vote against the budget, and Bright Armenia has yet to decide.
The head of Bright Armenia, Edmon Marukyan, has said that the draft budget doesn’t help decrease the development gap between Yerevan and other parts of Armenia, and MP Mane Tanadilyan complained that “there’s not a single word about renewable energy” or about environmental issues in general.
Tanadilyan said the lack of environmental spending may be illegal, as Armenian law requires the state to spend all the money it collects on certain taxes for environmental programs, which the draft budget does not do. “If we are violating the law in this institution what do we expect from our citizens?” she asked.
This article first appeared on Eurasianet. Ani Mejlumyan is a reporter based in Yerevan.
here to continue reading this article
and 5 more for free or purchase
12 months full website access including
the bne Magazine for just $250/year.
Register to read the bne monthly magazine for
Password could contain only
and have 8-20 symbols length.
Please complete your registration by confirming your
A confirmation email has been sent to the email
address you provided.
can't be empty.
No user with
this email address.
Access recovery request have been expired. Please,
Access recover request have been expired.
Please, try again.
To continue viewing our content you need to complete
the registration process.
Please look for an email that was sent to
with the subject line
"Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have
instructions on how to complete registration
process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in
case this communication was misdirected in your
If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry, but you have used all your free articles fro
this month for bne IntelliNews. Subscribe
to continue reading for only $119 per year.
Your subscription includes:
For the meantime we are also offering a free
digital weekly newspaper to subscribers to
the online package.
Click here for more subscription options,
including to the print version of our
flagship monthly magazine:
Take a trial to our premium daily news
service aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging
For any other enquiries about our
products or corporate discounts please
contact us at
If you no longer wish to receive
Magazine annual print
Website & Archive
Combined package: web
access & magazine print
Take a trial to our premium daily news service
aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging Europe: