Mr.Sukiasyan, ARMECONOMBANK OJSC is summing up the results of 2018. How was the previous year for the Bank? What achievements did the Bank record?
2018 was marked with continuous growth of main indicators for ARMECONOMBANK OJSC. Compared with the previous year, the Bank recorded 16% growth of assets and 28% increase of loan portfolio. The Bank’s profit has increased by one-third. In 2018, two new branches were launched. In the given year another two branches have been launched and the number of branches increased to 53. The Bank’s strategy is aimed at further expansion of the branch network. Attaching great importance to the innovative technologies I would like to point out the launch of Mobile Banking system during the previous year which will be constantly developed and improved within the given and the upcoming years.
The growth recorded in 2018, made ARMECONOMBANK OJSC more attractive and reliable for international partners and customers. The Bank continued its cooperation with both former and new partners. A number of large loan agreements were signed between the Bank and international finance and credit structures directing the attracted recourses to the on-lending of micro, small and medium-sized businesses. The lending of such kind of businesses has always been and will always remain among the priorities of ARMECONOMBANK OJSC as it directly contributes to the development of the economy.
Currently, Tax Code amendments are being actively discussed, particularly hot discussions on Income Tax Leveling are being held. What is your approach to this issue?
Progressive tax has logically developed in economically active countries. At first sight, the progressive taxing is a justified approach; nevertheless it will lead to new schemes of tax avoidance and difficulties of control. The capital will seek to find countries with more attractive conditions, such as Georgia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and etc. We have held discussions on the issue of tax leveling in the union of manufacturers and businessmen of Armenia. The opinions were, naturally, different. Personally, I commend the idea of leveling, since in my opinion, among the proposed options it is the best one. To be frank, I am surprised that, for the first time, the Government has proposed a project on behalf of the citizens. I, indeed, do not remember similar precedent. The income tax leveling creates favorable conditions for diligent people promoting in itself the growth of economic activity. The employer in its turn will not be obliged to work in a shade and give salaries in envelopes. The Government, first of all, attempts to promote increase in employment by this step, tries to awaken the consciousness of making a living by working rather than by social benefits.
In the beginning, the leveling may lead to the reduction of proceeds to the budget, but in perspective, we will certainly obtain positive results.
The leveling, maybe, is a good platform for political speculations, nevertheless the protesters, after all, shall accept that the leveling is the best option for them as well. It is, indeed, a serious impetus for the growth of economic activity, inflow of investors, middle class increase and enhancement, as well as for increasing and removing salaries from shade.
The Government’s perspective approach, that is to think about the citizens’ social state is praiseworthy.
As to the banking system, the salaries here are higher than the average salaries available in the market. I think that the aforementioned circumstance contributed to the establishment and stability of the system. I hope, that the measures taken by the Government will create opportunities to increase salaries of the citizens engaged in other fields.
As we talked about income tax leveling, what other essential measures with regard to the further development of the economy will you point out as a factor promoting economic activity?
With regard to the further development of the economy, I consider the review of some acting laws, the latters’ modernization and the elimination of incompliances between different laws as a priority which will facilitate the activities of businessmen and promote the economy development.
In parallel with the development of the economy, the laws shall be improved. We are obliged to move with the times; otherwise we are condemned to failure. I assure you there are a lot of faults and incompliances in our laws, which create obstacles for further development. Hence, studying the experience, legislation of other countries we should choose and adopt only the best. Before adopting a law, I believe that it is important to hold discussions among the different experts and specialist, which will allow to take all the positive and negative consequences into consideration.
It’s been a year since velvet revolution. What changes have you noticed and how will you evaluate them?
I, indeed, have taken notice of various changes. Probably, one of the most important achievements of the velvet revolution was the awakening of political consciousness among the young generation and the change of their way of thinking. It was our youth that made this revolution possible.
The exclusively peaceful nature of the revolution, absence of external force interference and subsequently unchanged external policy allowed the transfer and assumption of the power excluding dangerous concussions for the country.
Struggle against the corruption and monopolies, the facilitation of customs clearance processes are the undeniable achievements of the revolution. I would like to point out that the format of relations between state body and business entity has changed. Currently, a respectful attitude has been developed towards business entities.
In order to succeed, we should be patient, work harder and contribute to the development of positive events.
In my opinion the first precondition for the development is healthy debates without ant insults and personal ambitions. I consider slander and disrespectful attitude towards others purely unacceptable