PM Pashinyan holds consultation on economic monopolies
YEREVAN, JULY 30, ARMENPRESS. Consultation was held in the Armenian government led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan during which issues relating to the prevention of abuses recorded during the activities of companies with a monopoly position in different sectors, as well as ensuring fair competition were discussed, the PM’s Office told Armenpress.
“Our today’s discussion will focus on a topic which is known in Armenia as a monopoly, whether de facto or de jure, not so important. Our economic policy is the following: we plan to establish in Armenia an inclusive economic system. What does it mean? It means that we are recording a situation according to which before the recent velvet revolution, certain economic activity has been carried out in Armenia by administrative decisions, whether de facto or de jure, is not so important in this case, and the opportunities to conduct activities in these sectors have been distributed between a limited number of persons. By saying an inclusive economic system we mean that people, engaged in these sectors previously, will again have an opportunity to conduct activity in that fields, as well as the activity part granted for them by the leadership decisions, should be liberalized and these people and all those who have a desire will conduct activities in these fields. Of course, it’s obvious that after the victory of the velvet revolution in Armenia, there is no political obstacle for creating such situation and the political obstacles are eliminated, all conditions exist for having an inclusive system. I think we need to regularly monitor the situation in order to understand what is happening in the spheres known as monopolies among the people, whether there is a de facto change of the situation or not, and if not, what steps we need to take to ensure a real economic competitiveness, access to markets not only de jure but also de facto”, the PM said.
Artak Shaboyan, chairman of the State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition, thoroughly introduced details on the recent developments, the situation in markets considered as monopolies. In particular, he touched upon the developments in sugar, petrol and banana markets. He reported that until recently only one company was providing sugar in Armenia, but over the past two months the number of companies importing sugar has significantly increased. As a result the price of sugar has declined. At the moment the price of sugar is 285 drams compared to the 390 drams in early 2018.
As for the field of petrol and fuel, Artak Shaboyan said currently 3-4 major companies are operating in the field and there is no barrier, any economic entity can make an import.
Coming to the banana market, Shaboyan said until recently 90% of the market belonged to one company and its adjacent companies. But during the past two months the number of banana importing companies has greatly increased. As a result the price of banana decreased twice and today it costs 480 drams.
During the meeting different proposals were made aimed at fighting possible monopolies through legislative regulations and providing equal competitive conditions.
PM Pashinyan tasked the responsible persons to once again discuss the presented proposals, come to concrete conclusions and report the results to him. “We should have no monopolies and cases of abuse of dominating position, regardless of what tools we will use for that. Our task is to rule out market access problems both de facto and de jure. While making statements we need to examine whether the regulations work in real life, or the statements again remain in one platform and the reality in another. Here I expect the active cooperation of the State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition, the State Revenue Committee, and the concerned agencies of the government in general”.
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan