By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Armenia’s national debt doubled over the period of 2008 to 2018, head of the Methodology, Analysis and International Relations Department of Armenia's Audit Chamber Karen Arustamyan has said.
As for the 2012-2018 statistics, the reality is even worse. In the mentioned time span, the national debt of Armenia increased by 342 percent.
Addressing a meeting of the Standing Committee on Financial-Credit and Budgetary Affairs of the National Assembly of Armenia, Arustamyan said that according to the findings of the Audit Chamber, an internal audit of public debt was never conducted in Armenia and the risks were not assessed.
“Although the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank are obliged to publish documents relating to the state debt, in fact this has never been done. In addition, the State Revenue Committee did not provide the Finance Ministry with its forecasts about the state budget," he stated.
When asked by the Committee Chairperson Mane Tandilian whether the non-compliance with these procedures contained corruption risks, Arustamyan replied that the government would assume these obligations by its decision.
"Let it control this process by commissioning an audit of some of the organizations. Indeed, in this way it will be easier to identify these risks," he answered.
Arustamyan confirmed that this is a rather serious process, adding that Audit Chamber asks to carry it out.
He noted the Audit Chamber recorded 37 risks in the Public Debt Management Department in 2017 and 2018.
"In the framework of studies in various credit programs, the audit chamber revealed a number of abuses," he concluded.
The highest level of external public debt in Armenia was recorded in 2017 in the amount of 48 percent of GDP.
When Levon Ter-Petrosyan was in power in Armenia, the external public debt grew by $734 million, Robert Kocharian - $827 million, Serzh Sargsyan - $3.98 billion.
Note that law "On the State Budget of the Republic of Armenia for 2020" provides that the state debt of Armenia will amount to $7.6 billion or 51.2 percent of GDP in 2020.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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