Thursday, April 13, 2006

13 april 06

The Report on the Program of Privatization of State Property 2001-2003 took two and a half working days from the National Assembly. Yet it is not clear if the report will be adopted or not.

On the last day of debates on April 12 the leaders of parliament factions addressed the parliament. Five factions addressed the parliament. The United Labor Party, Orinats Yerkir and Ardarutiun were against the adoption of the report for the same reason, which was, however, formulated differently. The ULP and Orinats Yerkir announced that privatization was not transparent, and the proceeds were several times lower. Victor Dallakyan from Ardarutiun was much tougher, "an outrageous privatization took place," and people who are responsible for what happened must accept liability. If the program is not adopted, "the government deserves a red card."

Hence Victor Dallakyan offers four options to the political forces: approve the program and accept liability, reject the program and withdraw from the coalition, reject the program and stay in the coalition, reject the program and give a vote of no confidence to the government. The words of the ARF member Levon Mkrtichyan gave no idea about the stance of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation; the speaker offered to hold debates on the problem. There is nothing left to do but to wait for the vote of the ARF. Only the Republican Party approves the report. By the way, the Republicans were eager to persuade that the outcome of privatization in 2004 is discussed, probably to place the responsibility on the coalition, born in 2003.

Speaker Arthur Baghdasaryan kept his promise he had made on the eve, and brought specific examples. 33 Moscovyan Street - one square meter was sold at 40 dollars, the market price is 1000-1200 dollars.

Baghramyan Street - one square meter was sold at 30 dollars, the market price is 900-100 dollars. In Arabkir and Zeytun districts state property was sold at 10-20 dollars per square meter, the market price is 300-500 dollars. 4600 square meters of Arabkir Water Sports School was sold at 4 dollars per square meter, "100 times less than the market price." Of course, this does not concern all the cases of privatization. However, Arthur Baghdasaryan says those people must be stopped. "The monitoring of about 200 companies revealed that only 27 companies committed to investments, the rest were alienated without fixing any commitments to invest," stated the speaker of the National Assembly. And the monitoring of 100 companies that had committed to invest revealed that 37 million was invested instead of 140 million dollars. The result is that investments are less by 100 million, and "several thousands of jobs were not created and no one accepted liability." The majority of sold companies were privatized by direct sale to the buyer, known beforehand. In the past ten years 535 nursery schools and 250 libraries were sold. "Sooner or later all the officials will have to account for their actions," said Arthur Baghdasaryan.

Therefore, Arthur Baghdasaryan emphasizes the importance of enhancing government control, and as the first step he will send the report of the Audit Chamber of the National Assembly to the Office of Public Prosecutor. "They have appropriated millions and have to account for it. We must build a country of law by actions, not words. An unpunished offense will reoccur." Arthur Baghdasaryan instructs the executive, namely the Department for Management of State Property, to be more consistent, pursue the enforcement of the law.

The law bars privatization of nursery schools, educational and health care institutions.

"I wish all the best to my country, and no one can criticize me for that," said Arthur Baghdasaryan, calling for not republicanizing the issue. It is not against the Republican or any other party. "It is concern about the problem."

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