By Rashid Shirinov
An economic implosion is becoming increasingly likely in Armenia, while the country’s trade partners, economists and ordinary citizens are bracing for the fallout.
Former Prime Minister of Armenia Hrant Bagratyan has recently warned that the country’s external debt continues to grow and it can lead the country to collapse.
Bagratyan, during the presentation of a program of the Free Democrats party, said that the state debt of Armenia amounts to $5.2 billion, while the total external debt is $8 billion to date.
The ex-premier reminded that although President Serzh Sargsyan has been ruling Armenia for almost 10 years, most of his pre-election promises have not been fulfilled so far.
“Poverty should have fallen from 23 to 11 percent, but according to the official figures, it rose to 30 percent, and according to our data, up to 37 percent,” Bagratyan stressed.
Over 320,000 people left Armenia during the past 10 years, and the budget of the country does not change, he added.
“They promised that it [the budget] will be $3.5-4 billion, but our budget is $2.4 billion, and it is not very different from the budget that was 10 years ago,” he said.
Although Armenia received $12 billion as transfers and loans in past 10 years, the country's GDP has decreased from $11.9 billion to $10.6 billion, he said, stressing that “this is a real crisis”.
“With these trends, we are going towards an economic collapse. We are living not only bad, but in debt,” Bagratyan said.
Bagratyan said that Armenia’s economic growth may accelerate if the government gives the opportunity to make major investment in the country and will eliminate monopolization of certain industries in Armenia.
Earlier, Finance Minister Vardan Aramyan said that in late 2017, Armenia's national debt will reach $6.250 billion.He said this figure includes also the Central Bank’s debt, which is expected to be approximately $530 million by the end of the year.
"Armenia’s domestic and external debts stand now at about $5.4 billion, accounting for 54% of GDP. The Central Bank's debt is worth about $503 million," Aramyan said.
In late December 2016 Armenia’s national debt stood at about $5.9 billion