YEREVAN — Economic growth in Armenia will practically grind to a halt this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Economy Minister Tigran Khachatryan said on Friday, stating that a set of stringent restrictions imposed on the movement of people and the government’s ban on certain types of economic activity will cause serious damage to the economy.
Speaking at a news conference, he said it was too early to make estimates and forecasts for the year, saying a lot will depend on how quick the government is to manage all the processes and the time when it will lift the ban.
He said the ministry was making calculations to find out which sectors have declined more than others, and pointed out the importance of generating resources by businesses to use them during the recovery period.
Khachatryan also said that the ministry conducted a survey among 1,200 companies, which had to limit their activity because of various factors.
“Naturally, the losses will be significant, but we will try to quickly find solutions and after returning to normal life, we will be able to quickly restore the economic performance, by using the available tools and new solutions,” Khachatryan said.
In comments on the Central Bank’s forecast that the economic growth will drop to 0.7 percent in 2020, the minister noted that in the current difficult economic conditions, everyone should expect a decrease in economic indicators, remittances.
“The peculiarity is that the Central Bank assessed the specific situation at the moment. We believe that in 2020 there will be a significant reduction in economic indicators as opposed to optimistic forecasts made at the beginning of the year,” Khachatryan said.
The Armenian government approved last week a multimillion-dollar stimulus package designed to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic on businesses and ordinary people. The plan makes most Armenian firms as well as farmers eligible for financial assistance or credit subsidies.
Azerbaijan is surely trying to figure out how it can militarily take advantage of the Covid-19 situation in Armenia.
Of course, Azerbaijan has its own Covid-19 crisis to deal with.
But it also has a population several times as large as Armenia’s, so Azerbaijan, which has little regard for human life anyway, can afford to lose more people.