ArmInfo. In the new Armenia, businessmen have no need to become lawmakers, parliament President Ararat Mirzoyan assured journalists.
According to him, previously businessmen sought to parliament, so as to protect their business: "Now there is no such need". In response to a remark that there are similar trends now, for example, the leader of "Prosperous Armenia", entrepreneur Gagik Tsarukyan lobbies his cement business, Mirzoyan noted that the PAP received enough votes during the elections and its position cannot be ignored. In turn, MP from the Prosperous Armenia faction Mikayel Melkumyan did not agree with the fact that they protect the interests of Tsarukyan. "This is not true. Our faction protects the interests of the citizens of Armenia. The case is in the workplace. After all, Gagik Tsarukyan may have more profit if he has fewer employees and pay less wages. But he understands that this will lead to a reduction in jobs in the country, and whole families will lose their income. "We believe that this is unacceptable. We are defending jobs in Armenia," concluded Melkumyan.
To note, after lengthy and emotional discussions, the National Assembly of Armenia, at its meeting on April 19, adopted in its first reading amendments to the laws "On State Duty" and "On Notification about Activities". According to the Minister of Economic Development and Investments of the Republic of Armenia Tigran Khachatryan, the package proposes to establish a state duty in the amount of 22 thousand drams per ton of imported cement for a period of one year - until April 2020. Thus, the interests of domestic producers will be protected. As for clinker, the government will return to the second reading on the question of imposing a duty on this product. The term for applying the new rate for imported cement, according to the minister, is associated with possible price changes for this product in neighboring markets and the modernization of domestic enterprises, which will lead to lower production costs. Having established a new duty, the minister continued, equal conditions will be created on the market, both for producers and importers of cheaper cement from neighboring countries, first of all, from Iran. He noted that imports are growing much faster than local production.
Thus, in 2018, local production grew by 53%, and imports - 3.5-fold, that is, imports are growing much faster. Of the 680 thousand tons in the Armenian market, 512 thousand were Armenian cement, 168 thousand - imported. Tigran Khachatryan also said that according to the Ministry's research, the average cost of cement from local enterprises is 41-42 thousand drams per ton, or about $ 85- $ 90. At the same time, cement in Iran is more than four times cheaper - $15- $20. Redeployment to Armenia is estimated at $ 15 per ton. As a result, on the Iranian border, in Meghri, Iranian cement costs only $ 30, or about 15 thousand drams. Iranian cement plants are helped by two factors. First, the country has very cheap gas, which can be up to half the cost of cement. Secondly, the Iranian government subsidizes local producers. According to various estimates, in 2017 the state spent $ 168 million on this, the minister said. So that Armenian factories could withstand such competition, it is proposed to protect them with a duty. Thus, as the Minister noted, Armenian enterprises will be able to withstand competition. It should be noted that according to the data of the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, in September 2018 cement production in Armenia decreased by 23.34% and amounted to 44 thousand tons. In total, 401 thousand tons of cement were produced in January-September 2018 against 251 thousand tons in January-September 2017. To recall, in Armenia there are two cement plants functioning - Ararat and Hrazdan, as well as gadz plant, also producing cement.