By Rashid Shirinov
The drama around the confrontation between Yerevan traders and the country authorities is still ongoing.
For many months traders of Armenian fairs, in particular of the shopping center Arinj Mall, demand the government to amend the Tax Code and to release them from too much paperwork, which they consider as additional tax burden. At the same time, the traders note that they do not avoid paying taxes.
Today, the shopkeepers of Arinj Mall gathered at the building of the National Assembly of Armenia to hold another protest action.
"Yesterday we began collecting signatures. We appeal to the four political forces of the parliament with a request to pay attention to this issue, so that they look at this problem from the standpoint of an ordinary person,” one of the protesters, chairman of the Solidarity NGO Armen Nersisyan told journalists.
He added that people want to work and live peacefully. “Don’t they have this right? Who decided that the budget should be replenished through violence, by harassing citizens?” the protester resented.
Two weeks ago, the shopkeepers held a protest at the same place, in front of the National Assembly. They noted that the tax service employees demand from them to provide a document on the movement of each imported good. The traders claim that this is unnecessary red tape that requires involvement of additional workforce.
“I am tired, let an employee from the government come and work with us all day, let him register every transported goods,” one of the merchants said at that protest.
The shopkeepers have also held such protests in April this year in front of the Government and Parliament buildings. Then they claimed that the Armenian tax authorities terrorized them by carrying out inspections at their shops and demanding their documents or bribes.
Despite all these protests, the multi-month opposition of Armenian traders against their authorities has brought no results so far. This is another indicator of the Armenian government’s indifference to the problems of the country’s citizens. Obviously, such attitude of the authorities is among main reasons why the economy of Armenia is in such a deplorable state.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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