YEREVAN — The number of officially employed people in Armenia has risen by 12 percent to over 603,000 since last year’s “Velvet Revolution,” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Friday.

Citing latest data from the State Revenue Committee (SRC), Pashinyan revealed that private entities have reported more than 65,000 new jobs to the tax service from May 2018 through the beginning of this month.

Other Armenian officials acknowledged earlier that most of the new jobs had been created before the revolution and were part of the country’s sizable informal economy. Employers had not registered those workers in order to avoid paying their income and pension taxes.

According to Pashinyan, 80 percent of the newly registered employees are paid between 150,000 drams ($315) and 2 million drams per month. The SRC has collected more than 6 billion drams ($12.6 million) in income taxes from them since May 2018, the premier wrote on his Facebook page.

The SRC figures also show that two-thirds of Armenians work in the private sector.

Pashinyan’s government pledged to crack down on widespread tax evasion when it took office in May 2018. The government’s tax revenues rose by over 14 percent, to 1.3 trillion drams ($2.7 billion), last year and by another 25 percent in the first half of this year.

Armenia’s 2019 state budget calls for almost 651 billion drams in first-half tax revenues. The SRC surpassed that target, collecting over 713 billion drams ($1.5 billion) in various taxes.

The SRC chief, Davit Ananian, reported in July a 21 percent rise in the monetary value of cash receipts issued by Armenian shops, restaurants and other businesses in January-June 2019. But he did not specify other factors behind the extra revenues.

Pashinyan has regularly urged Armenians to demand receipts when buying goods and services in order to make it harder for businesses to evade taxes.

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