Armenian officials receive millions of dollars in bonuses
Armenian officials receive millions in bonuses
In Armenia, scandals periodically flare up in recent years in connection with the payment of large bonuses to officials.
This situation began after the government of the leader of the Velvet Revolution Nikol Pashinyan came to power in 2018. Many believe that now government officials are given too generous bonuses.
Another excess occurred on March 23 at a meeting in parliament. Anna Kostanyan, MP from the opposition Bright Armenia faction, said during her speech that during 2020, employees of the State Revenue Committee and the Prime Minister’s Office received bonuses worth approximately $15 million.
This information became another scandal and immediately spread in social media, since last year was one of the most difficult for the country in a long time due to the coronavirus and second Karabakh war.
However, the deputy speaker of the parliament from the ruling bloc My Step Alen Simonyan, commenting on the speech of the opposition deputy, said that the payment of bonuses to employees of state structures will continue.
- Gasoline prices in Armenia pushing record high
- Mass departure from Armenia: why people are leaving and what could be next
Who got how much
Anna Kostanyan announced what amounts were paid in the form of bonuses to employees of various government agencies.
In particular, the State Revenue Committee, according to the opposition MP, “amid the pandemic and war” received bonuses worth 6.8 billion drams [about $13 million].
The prime minister’s administration received 441 million drams [about $800,000] in bonuses in 2020.
“The Minister of Finance, to whom the entire treasury of the country was given for safekeeping, also did not manage without rewarding himself in the midst of the war – about 73 million drams [about $138,000],” Anna Kostanyan said.
The deputy emphasized that with this money during the second Karabakh war, the country could buy military equipment for the army, in particular, unmanned aerial vehicles.
The reaction of the ruling bloc
Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from the ruling My Step bloc Alen Simonyan reacted harshly to Kostanyan’s speech.
According to him, employees of the State Revenue Committee and the Ministry of Finance work effectively and contribute to the replenishment of the treasury:
“Today, salaries are not delayed in Armenia, there is no systemic corruption, tax collection is carried out efficiently. And if government agencies do their job well, then their employees should be awarded bonuses.”
The vice-speaker said that the payment of bonuses will continue. Law enforcement officers will also receive awards. In this way, he reacted to the accusations made by opposition politicians that police officers had already received awards twice in 2021, allegedly for maintaining order at opposition rallies.
“The other day, one of these 17 colleagues [we are talking about the leaders of the opposition parties who have united since the fall of 2020 to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Pashinyan and hold street protests] says that the police have been awarded bonuses And they did the right thing, they should give even more to the police. And you don’t distribute money to the people standing there [talking about opposition supporters who since the end of February have blocked the entrances to parliament and spend the night in tents]? Do you distribute vodka and food?” Simonyan said indignantly.