ArmInfo.. The RA Ministry of Justice jointly with the VivaCell-MTS telecommunication company and the NGO "Harmonious Development" are launching the program "Reducing Corruption Risks in the Private Sector", which is aimed at developing simple, innovative and modern methods for identifying and neutralizing corruption.
This was stated during the forum dedicated to this topic, which was held in Yerevan on November 19 with the participation of the Acting Minister of Justice Artak Zeynalyan and his deputy Suren Krmoyan; Acting Minister of Economic Development and Investments Tigran Khachatryan; VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian and other representatives of the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations.
During the presentation of the program, S. Krmoyan noted that the main goal is to involve the private sector in the fight against corruption and create a competitive anti-corruption environment, which will help improve business efficiency in Armenia. "In this issue there is no need to look for complex solutions, the most effective is the introduction of non-traditional and innovative tools," he stressed. As the Deputy Justice Minister explained, as a result of the round-table discussions, the best solutions will be chosen to help reduce the risks of corruption. These decisions will subsequently be sent to the appropriate departments. "We attach particular importance to holding today's event, as corruption impedes the development of both the economy as a whole and business in particular, reduces investment attractiveness and leads to social injustice," S. Krmoyan added.
During the welcome speech, A. Zeynalyan noted that the launch of the program is an example of successful cooperation of the state, private and public sectors. At the same time, noting that the state cannot fight corruption alone, the Minister of Justice expressed hope that as a result of the event not only innovative ideas presented by business will come to life, but it will be possible to establish a strong connection with the business community to regulate anti-corruption policies. In this vein, he added that business needs to provide an internal environment in the company that will allow identifying and neutralizing corruption risks. In other words, measures should be taken to prevent the occurrence of corruption within an enterprise.
In turn, the Acting Economic Development and Investment Minister Tigran Khachatryan noted that corruption negatively affects productivity. "If we talk in figures, then at the end of 2017, the GDP per person employed in Armenia is $ 5.5 per hour, while in developed European countries it's 80 euros and in the US it's $ 60-65. "If we want to be competitive, we should not forget about these figures," he stressed.
T. Khachatryan noted that it is not worth expecting high rates of economic growth in the coming years without a significant increase in the volume of investments in the private sector. "Foreign investors are investing their money in places where a high level of transparency is ensured and the rules within which the private sector operates are understandable," he said.
Moreover, corruption risks, he said, may arise if, between the shareholder and the executive management of the company there are no corresponding mechanisms of power sharing. "In the absence of an adequate level of corporate governance in the long term, such a company will not be able to attract financing from the international capital market and fulfill its future plans. We should understand this and talk about it openly. Therefore, we must change our steps in order to provide a competitive business environment in the medium term, "he concluded.
During the event, the company's General Manager Ralph Yirikian shared the company's successful experience in managing and assessing corruption risks, noting that since 2013 the company has implemented a "Compliance" system, which has created effective mechanisms for identifying and analyzing corruption, assessing and managing risks corruption relationships. At the same time, he noted that while implementing the anti-corruption policy, the company is guided not only by the RA Criminal Code, but also by the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act. To recall, yesterday VivaCell-MTS was awarded a certificate of compliance with international standards ISO 37001 and ISO 19600 for anti-corruption management and prevention of bribery, which happens for the first time in Armenia. This is evidenced by the audit report of the international professional organization "International Compliance Association" (ICA).
To note, Viva Cell-MTS (MTS Armenia) is the leading mobile operator in Armenia, which provides a wide range of voice and data services throughout the country. VivaCell-MTS is one of the leaders in innovation and development of the country's mobile communications market.