Today, the working meeting “Corruption Risks in the Business Sector of Armenia: Recorded Problems and Upcoming Activities” continued its work. Over 50 representatives from the non-governmental organizations, business sector and responsible senior officials from state agencies attended the working meeting.
The participants split into three groups and summarized the problems in the areas of public procurement, customs and taxation and fair economic competition, which they then presented.
Ms Marine Zhamkochyan, representing the Republican Union of Employers of Armenia spoke about the problems that exist in public procurement sphere. One of the most important issues in this sector is transparency. As a solution to this problem it was proposed to publish all documents relating to the purchase, the transaction information regarding the Company (also who are shareholders) on gnumner.am website. An important issue here is the awareness of the entities that carry out public procurement. The Local authority staff often do not know how to organize the procurement process. Rejection of the procurement application shall be reasoned as well. Currently they are subjective and without any justification. Another issue is the volume of procurement from a single source, which should be definitely reduced, and it is necessary to introduce the control mechanisms in the procurement sector.
Mr. Hakob Avagyan, the President of the SME Cooperation Association spoke about the primary problems in customs and taxation sphere. One of the problems
is related to the application of the price method customs transaction, formation and publishing the reference prices, the extrusion intermediary organizations from the process, which though facilitate the work of the importer, but also are leading to violations in customs clearance procedures. It is necessary to discuss certain provisions of the new Tax Code, since in case it comes into force they may lead to corruption risks. The issue that the customs and tax authorities may be used as punishing whip was raised as well.
Economist Babken Tunyan spoke about the problems of free economic competition. “Although there are not “de jure” monopolies, but there is a perceptions in society, that such exists in specific areas, and mechanisms should be developed to combat them, and provide real tools that will eliminate impunity in this area.” The working group noted that the circumstances preventing free economic competition are merger of politics and business, inequality in taxation, and giving privileges to some companies. There was also a proposal to discover the real owners of offshore companies, as it is possible that one person can have several organizations and conduct activities in the same field.
Mr. Karen Zadoyan, the President of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association, which was the organizer of the event, summarizing the results of the workshop said, “It is really good that there already are mapped problems and we can find constructive solutions in this direction.”
Mr. Suren Krmoyan, the RA deputy Minister of Justice expressed his gratitude to the organizers and funders for the organization of this regular and constructive event. “” As a result of persistence, we gradually are trying to solve the problems,” he said.
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