Yerevan Municipality’s Expenditure of 8 Million AMD for Hospitality is Ineffective: Member of Council of Elders

At the invitation of the Mayor of Yerevan City, the delegation headed by Georgy Poltavchenko, the Governor of St. Petersburg visited Yerevan on an Official visit on 29 April – 2 May, 2015. had informed that on 27 April Yerevan Municipality signed a contract with “Reception House” CJSC on hotel accommodation and reception services in the hotel rooms. The cost of the contract was 3 Million AMD around 6 thousand USD.

However, it turned out that the luxurious hospitality was not limited to simply lodging in the high class hotel rooms (the Presidential, Semi-Presidential and de luxe suites).

On 22 April Municipality signed a contract on hotel reception services with “Gold REST” Company to organize lunch and supper for the delegation on 1 May. The cost of the service totaled to 1.5 Million AMD.

Another official reception contract was signed with “Freeze” CJSC on 27 April, with a deadline on 2 May. In this case the cost the lump sum for 1 time reception totaled to 2 million 465 thousand AMD.

Actually, the cost of a 3-days visit of St. Petersburg Governor’s delegation to Yerevan, Totaled to 8 million 315 thousand AMD (around 17 thousand USD) for the Yerevan Municipality budget.

To the question of “whether such costs were justified?” the member of Yerevan Council of Elders Mrs. Anahit Bakhshyan said that the issue of due reception of the guests should not be put in doubt, but on the other hand it is necessary to what the city gained as a result of these costs.

“From the aspect of assessment of cost effectiveness we do not see the accountability. When the city faces thousands of problems, and we speak about them, they say there are no funds, then this contradicts to our Armenian saying “Stretch your feet according to your blanket.” If we have problems in the city, which may be solved with this funds, but you do not do it, and instead you use the funds for luxurious receptions, then this is ineffective expenditure,” Mrs. Anahit Bakhshyan said.

She also mentioned that the members of the Council of Elders do not receive reports on the expenditures, they only get acquainted with the planned costs and how much was spend.

Mr. Marat Atovmyan, Expert of “Multi-Faceted” Anti-Corruption Promotion” project is also of the opinion that the hospitality for the guests who are accepted through the Governmental channels should be on a due level. However, in the interview with he noted that a proper but not less quality hospitality and reception could have been organized by a more modest funds.

“Given the fact that, according to official data the poverty level of the population is over 30%, while the non official figures are probably higher than 50%, I do not think that such funds may be spent for organization of hospitality and receptions for the foreign guests. Such approach should be reviewed. “

Astghik Karapetyan