On September 16, initiated by the Chair of the RA NA Standing Committee on Financial-Credit and Budgetary Affairs Gevorg Papoyan, a working debate was held with the participation of the NA deputies, the Ministries of Finance and Justice, as well as the Association of Accountants and Auditors of Armenia, the representatives of the audit organizations.
Gevorg Papoyan, presenting the motivation for organizing a working debate, has noted that the organizations carrying out audit activities have observations and complaints related to some provisions of the RA Law on Audit Activities adopted in December, 2019.
According to the representatives of the companies providing audit services, before the adoption of the above-mentioned law, public debate was not conducted. The law was aimed at improving the activities of the functioning audit organizations, however after the adoption, problems were occurred in practice. In their opinion, there are corruption risks in the law, it contradicts the principle of a free competition set by the Constitution. In particular, the provision of the law is disputable, pursuant to which, it is mandatory for auditors and audit organizations to join a specialized structure having an NGO status, and not joining it leads to the termination of the activities. The procedure of providing certificates to the auditors set by the law was also a cause for concern.
The RA Deputy Minister of Finance Arman Poghosyan, referring to the raised concerns, stated that the draft law was widely discussed among public on all possible platforms. As a result of which, numerous proposals were received. According to Arman Poghosyan, the concerns voiced on corruption risks have no basis. “As of 30 December 2020 there had been 28 licensed audit organizations, 23 of which joined a specialized structure,” the Deputy Minister said. Touching upon the claims on unconstitutionality, the Deputy Minister has underlined that the package of drafts has been passed after receiving the state expert’s opinion of the authorized body, and the Ministry does not see elements contradicting the Constitution.
According to the deputy of the Armenia Faction Artsvik Minasyan, reforms should be based on the provision of quality services. In his opinion, the transition of corresponding to the qualification criteria of the audit companies should be unimpeded. On behalf of their faction, the MP expressed readiness to litigate some provisions in the Constitutional Court, however he has emphasized that the anti-constitutional norms, pointed out before that, should go through a long phase of discussion.
The deputy of the NA With Honor Faction Ishkhan Saghatelyan has noted that the problem is not new. The MP has studied the sphere in detail still in 2008 and have come to the conclusion to eliminate internal audit in Armenia. He has underlined that it is necessary to present the definition of the external audit, having clear standards. In Ishkhan Saghatelyan’s opinion, the problem has a need to be systematically solved, so that the latter proposed to create a work group. Ishkhan Saghatelyan’s proposal was accepted by the Committee Chair.
The Chair of the Standing Committee on Financial-Credit and Budgetary Affairs Gevorg Papoyan urged the attendees to present proposals and expressed readiness to refer to the issue again with the expectation of discussing the proposals and solving them as much as possible.