Gagik Tsarukyan has made his second sensational statement this year.
The first deals with the Araratcement plant, managed by Sedrak Arustamyan, but actually owned by Mr Tsarukyan. The problem is that an import tax, AMD 14,000 ($29) per ton, was imposed on the cement imported from Iran this June. Only MPs representing the ruling political force voted for the bill.
After heated discussions, the MPs of the Prosperous Armenia party voted against the bill. They were actually for the import tax on cement, demanding taxation of clinker imported from Iran as well.
Clinker is used in the manufacture of cement, but its production cost is much lower – $9 to 13 tons per ton. And it is the Araratcement that produces the traditional raw materials for cement manufacture. According to the MPs, the tax on cement will not be effective without taxation of raw materials. During the vote, the plant employees held protests pressing the government in Mr Tsarukyan’s interests. In his turn, Mr Tsarukyan stated: “We’ll start importing clinker instead of supporting domestic production, and several hundred other families will lose their jobs.”
The second incident involves investments by Emir of Abu Dhabi Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. That time, Mr Tsarukyan stated that the Arab Sheikh and his representatives arrived in Armenia on April 26 to make huge investments, including the construction of a free hospital. However, after the Yerevan mayor declined the Sheikh’s proposal and, as his representatives said, talked to them in an impolite tone, they were disappointed. However, according to them, they go on working in Armenia for the Armenian people’s benefit as they respect Mr Tsarukyan and it is he who informs them about all of Armenia’s problems.
So Mr Tsarukyan turns out to be promoting his business interests by abusing office and manipulating his employees. And it is now the turn of the Yerevan Municipality and one of the politically weak links, the mayor.
By plotting this, Mr Tsarukyan is hardly thinking of improving the Armenian people’s life better, with his claims “with the people, for the people.” Rather…
And what accounts for the fact that important meetings in Armenia are at first kept secret, with wordings like “the prime minister has requested a meeting” – it is another big question.