ZURICH (Combined Sources) — On a working visit to Switzerland, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today met with a group of business represenatives in Zurich to discuss ways and prospects for implementing investment programs in Armenia.
Meeting with the president of the Swiss-Armenian Chamber of Commerce Mike Baronian, Nikol Pashinyan discussed investment programs in pharmaceutical industry. Mike Baronian advised that their Yerevan-based company is currently engaged in the processing of raw materials in a bid to produce and export medicines in Armenia.
About $10 million will be invested over the next five years to result in several high-paid jobs. Mike Baronian spoke about other investment projects related to the production of energy through the use of advanced technologies and copper recycling.
Swiss businessman Hans Schweigard came up with a major investment project for solar energy production. Welcoming the businessman’s initiative, Nikol Pashinyan outlined his government’s strategy in the energy sector and the prospects for developing this sphere. The head of the Armenian government suggested discussing all relevant issues with the Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources to implement it efficiently.
Nikol Pashinyan next met with a group of business people from Franck Muller Group, led by Swiss-Armenian businessman and philanthropist Vartan Sirmakes. Issues related to the implementation of a number of investment projects in the fields of agriculture, food industry, construction, banking, jewelry, watch-making and vocational education were discussed during the meeting.
The Prime Minister assured of his government’s willingness to support the proposed investment programs within the framework of existing instruments. Nikol Pashinyan said the steps aimed at improving the business environment will be continued as Government of Armenia is eager to attract new job-extensive investments into the country.
Nikol Pashinyan took the opportunity to discuss the implementation of Old Yerevan project Vartan Sirmakes. The Head of Government stressed the need for safeguarding historical and cultural monuments and caring for such buildings.
Addressing the meeting, Nikol Pashinyan said Armenia has several questions to answer: Where are we? Where do we want to be? What can the Armenian people offer to reach the place it wants to be?
“Now Armenia stands at the crossroads between economic prosperity and stagnation. Historic transformations have recently happened in Armenia. Non-violent velvet revolution held last spring led to the victory of democracy in our country,” PM Pashinyan told the attendees.
He added that the snap parliamentarian elections held last December further strengthened democratic achievements. “These fundamental changes are irreversible – they are based on the will of our people and the overwhelming consensus in our society.”
According to the Prime Minister, “today we have to complete another revolution – the economic revolution – in order to justify the trust and expectations of our people.”
“GDP growth over the past years has been promising with 7.5% registered in 2017 and persisted during 2018 with estimates exceeding 5%, the foreign exchange rate of the Armenian Currency and the inflation have remained stable thus showcasing the resilience of our economy to both external and internal shocks. The export to GDP relation has topped 37% in 2017 and has continued with record breaking figures in 2018. Those promising trends, however, cannot be enough if we want to ensure Armenia’s rightful place in the global economy,” Pashinyan stated.
Speaking about where Armenia wants to be, Nikol Pashinyan said “the cornerstone of our future growth will be an investment policy framework that drives productive job creation and export competitiveness.”
He said the 2 things that Armenian people want and expect the most are: more jobs and less corruption.
“Armenian citizens do not want more redistribution of income: they have seen enough of that. What we, as Armenians want, is the ability and opportunity to earn and contribute to economic growth and prosperity of our homeland,” The Prime Minister noted.
Thus, the next question to be asked is what can the Armenian people offer to reach the place it wants to be?
Speaking about what the Armenian people can offer to reach the place it wants to be, the Prime Minister said “Armenia has a small internal market with a lot of value-creation potential.”
“The cornerstone of Armenian economy is the creativity and ingenuity of the people. This translates into our increased competitiveness in niche, high value added products and services,” he said.
Nikol Pashinyan reminded that Armenians are responsible for a number of innovations, such as the MRI machine, the oxygen mask, the automatic gear-box, to name a few.
“To put it concise, if Germans are engineers and Italians are designers, Armenians are creators,” he stressed.
The Prime Minister said that considering all the above-mentioned The Armenian government has developed the following priorities: industry; agriculture, processed food and beverages; tourism and infrastructures.
“Armenia will continue the upward trajectory of its development. We have the potential, we have opportunities and we have the political will to become a regional and global economic player. The question is whether you are ready to join us and befriend us on this interested and not an easy path; if you are ready to make your move, come to Armenia, get rich and enrich!” Nikol Pashinyan concluded.