YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s cabinet will carry on with structural reforms that were launched by the previous Armenian government and approved by the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Atom Janjughazian said on Tuesday.
Janjughazian met with the head of the IMF office in Yerevan, Yulia Ustyugova, for the first time since being appointed as minister ten days ago. The Armenian Finance Ministry said they reviewed ongoing IMF-approved programs relating to taxation and state budgeting policy.
“Atom Janjughazian assured her that the government of Armenia is committed to bringing all joint programs and initiatives to a logical conclusion,” read a ministry statement. “The minister highly appraised continuing cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and stressed the importance of expanding and strengthening it.”
The IMF has praised the previous government’s efforts to strengthen fiscal discipline through sizable increases in tax revenue and budgetary cost saving. Armenia’s state budget deficit shrank from at least 5.2 percent of GDP in 2016 to 3.3 percent in 2017, according to the Finance Ministry.
A senior IMF official, Hossein Samiei, indicated the fund’s readiness to allocate a fresh loan to Armenia at the end of a two-week visit to Yerevan in late March. Samiei met with then Prime Minister Karen Karapetian, Janjughazian’s predecessor Vartan Aramian and other senior Armenian officials. An IMF statement said they held “productive discussions” on the government’s economic policies.
Janjughazian, 47, is one of the most experienced technocratic members of the new Armenian cabinet. He served as a deputy finance minister and head of the Armenian state treasury for nearly two decades preceding his ministerial appointment.
Pashinian’s cabinet is expected to submit a comprehensive policy program to the parliament next month. So far it has signaled no plans to revise the state budget for this year which was drafted by Karapetian’s government.