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Speech by RA NA President Ara Babloyan during Debate of RA Draft Law on RA State Budget for 2018
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“Dear deputies,

Distinguished members of the Government,

The draft law on the State Budget of the Republic of Armenia for 2018 presented to the National Assembly by the Government is not only an economic, but also a political document. And the hard and responsible debates on it which relate to the perspective of the development of our country, naturally, besides being economic and social, are also political.

I thank the representatives of all political forces for the concerned debate and active positions.

I thank also the representatives of the government headed by the Prime Minister for the effective cooperation and harmonious work with the parliament.

The regular debate of the next budget of the country is one opportunity and occasion for talking about the existing problems, challenges and their overcoming and solutions. All of us realize that we don’t have time to slow down, and therefore, it is necessary to be more consistent and follow our principles. We have no right to breathe quietly, being comforted that the international financial crisis is already gone, and we resisted the possible hard consequences of that crisis and that the geopolitical this or that tangle is solved, etc.

We should create firm bases for the economic progress, welfare and optimism.

Dear colleagues,

Of course, it is impossible for completely touch upon professional numerous nuances of the state budget for 2018 in the time framework allocated for the speech. But I can unequivocally note that, to great extent, the basic financial document of the country distinctly says: let’s be honest before ourselves and accept that at this moment the limit of our possibilities is this.

But it also says that what we have we should spend that in the next years we can say that we, ourselves, increased the limits of our forces.

I should sincerely say that the draft budget for 2018 at the same time inspires and to some extent worries me.

It inspired me, as I see a distinct programme intended to economic rise, I see an unhidden will of strengthening the sphere of defense, and finally, I see handwriting of calling a spade a spade and not relying on rose-coloured glasses.

I see these things distinctly, and it inspires me.

But I see that that the draft budget for 2018 is less generous towards the social sphere, particularly education and health care. And though I understand very well that what we are doing now, will increase our possibilities for tomorrow in the same social, educational and health care spheres for having flight, I believe that we should work more seriously in the future at least in not decreasing the financing of these spheres, but increasing them.

Yes, by the state draft budget the financing of the health care is distinctly reduced. The health care is the sphere, where what is lost today will be very hard or almost impossible to restore. The reforms, the optimization in this sphere, the goal of which is to use the budget more sparingly, to make the system more topical and flexible, should not have undesirable impact on the services being rendered to the population. Nevertheless, I am glad that realizing the reduction of finances can have negative impact on the citizen’s health and the health care system: the government could find ways of settling the problems. As a result, in the final version presented by the state budget for 2018, compared with the first version of the draft law the financing of the health care essentially - by 4bln AMD has been increased.

Dear colleagues, it is clear that the state budget for 2018, naturally cannot include in it all wishes, Here we have disagreements, clashes of viewpoints and positions emerge among the political forces, deputies and representatives of the government. However, it is understandable that immediately solving all the problems, mildly said, is difficult, mostly impossible. Therefore, populism is not acceptable because it can result in social disaster. We should go through giving preference to realism and priorities.

I hope that, by showing farsightedness and soberness, we can accept more optimal variant of the state budget. And by that we’ll give an opportunity to the government to implement the designed programmes, reach sustainable growth of economy in order the word will turn into work, and the work in its turn will become a result.

I call on to vote for the draft law of the Republic of Armenia on the State Budget of the Republic of Armenia for 2018.”

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