On 11 June, the representatives of coalitions that were awarded sub-grants in business and economy target sectors in the framework of the EU-funded “Commitment to constructive Dialogue” Project met with Minister of Economic Development and Investment Mr. Artsvik Minasyan and Deputy Minister Albert Babayan.
The meeting was aimed to present to the Minister the projects “New Strategy for the Effective Development of SME Sector in Armenia” and “Participatory Monitoring for the Establishment of Smart Communities in Armenia”
Minister Artsvik Minasyan attached importance to the project and the work carried out, noting that they will jointly develop new ideas and programs. He mentioned that there are some ideas in the ministry that should be transformed into a conceptual program.
“Fight against corruption has lasted for a long time and we have often made efforts to curb corruption by strengthening the criminal responsibility, strengthening the property and income declaration systems related to the officials or individuals who have certain powers to make a decision or influence on such processes. This is, of course, good, and it is necessary to develop these systems. Particularly large corporations or organisations should be more transparent and apply a number of anti-corruption schemes, such as anti-corruption schemes of the World Bank’s procurement process, etc,” Artsvik Minasyan said.
According to him the prime minister shall make new appointments at the ministry on deputy minister’s level in the nearest future, and many reforms will be made at the ministry, and the public sector’s involvement in these processes will be desirable.
Mr. Karen Zadoyan, President of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association, Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project Manager, presented the project, noting that the capacity of NGOs is developing in two directions so that they can be competitive in the work with relevant government and local self-government bodies. “9 target areas are selected within the framework of the project (justice, human rights, public finance management, business, education, social sphere: social inclusion of children with disabilities, agriculture, economy, energy). 25 million drams have been awarded for the implementation of each project and 7.5 million drams would be allocated to the coalition to its further development and strengthening to continue the program,” Karen Zadoyan said.
“Cooperation with this ministry is primary for business, and it should be strong and productive. Currently we have such opportunity. One of our key points is support for the development of small and medium-size businesses; here we have a budget and an expert team so that we can work out a dialogue model right from now on through dialogue. Let’s set the right bases to be useful both for the ministry and for the public organisations so that we can use the potential and the provided financial resources effectively,” Hakob Avagyan, the Executive Director of the Project Partner SME Cooperation Association, Business and Related Sectors Coordinator of the Project said.
Grisha Hovsepyan, the “New Strategy for the Effective Development of SME Sector in Armenia” Project Manager, which has been awarded sub-grant in the target business sector of CCD Project, noted that the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments is bearer of policy responsible for the SME strategy. “It will be great if you as a bearer of political responsibility and we, who are willing to have our role in it, develop a joint working order, understand all the directions and work more efficiently,” he said.
Ms Satik Badeyan, President of the Association of Social Enterprises of Armenia, presented what social enterprise is: “It is a new phenomenon both in the world and in Armenia, and has evolved over the past few years, but in many countries, it is developing rapidly and getting support from the state. It is viewed as a very good mechanism for supporting the government to achieve economic development and addressing community and social issues. “
Minister Artsvik Minasyan was interested in this idea and mentioned that currently, in the stage of tax reforms and a study of the sphere may be conducted and the results can be presented to be included in the development of the public policy.
He also proposed to include in the business plans the families of servicemen killed during the 4-Day April War in 2016. Karen Zadoyan mentioned that they would organise a discussion, and in case if the cooperation is large, they could organise a conference with participation of CSOs and the government.
At the end of the meeting, Artsvik Minasyan noted that they are ready for cooperation and in addition to cooperation with the Deputy Minister Albert Babayan, who was present at the meeting, active cooperation with other Deputy Ministers and Departments will be carrired out as well.
The “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” project is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by a Consortium of civil society organisations, which are the Armenian Lawyers’ Association (lead organisation), Agora Central Europe (NGO based in the Czech Republic), the Armenian Centre for Democratic Education-CIVITAS, the International Centre for Human Development, the SME Cooperation Association and the Union of Communities of Armenia.