The RA Ministry of Finance has released a budget report on for the 1st quarter of 2010.
According to the report, the budget revenues totaled 164.1bn AMD (7.2% more than the government-budgeted amount). On-budget expenditures totaled 170.1bn AMD (90.5%). As a result the budget deficit proved to be less than the budgeted deficit.
The on-budget expenditures showed an increase of 10.9% (16.7bn AMD) as compared with the corresponding period last year. The ministry accounts for the increase by an increase in expenses due to non-financial assets ands grants, as well as on the service of foreign debt and social benefits.
Government-financed employees were unlucky. In the 1st quarter 2010, salaries, though raised by 6.6%, proved to be 10.7% lower than the budgeted level. So the relevant expenses totaled 14.8bn AMD (8.7% of the on-budget expenditures).
The government-financed employees can, however, be grouped as follows: the fist group has to live on “crumbs from the table,” whereas the second, sitting round the table, enjoy themselves with dainties. High-ranking and other officials at “elite” government agencies make full use of the opportunities afforded by the state budget.
Specifically, a total of 1.5bn AMD (almost U.S. $4m) has been budgeted for the salaries to “people’s deputies” and the RA Parliament staff this year. The expenses on the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) (staff, cars, business tips, etc..) will total 4.7bn AMD (U.S. $12.2m).
Although the number of ministries is not so high as compared with the Soviet period, numerous new government agencies have been formed only to prove a heavy burden on the shoestring state budget. The past decade has seen the formation of numerous institutes for public administration and economic management.
Among them is the RA Public Services Regulatory Commission, which recently gained notoriety for approving the ArmRusgasprom Company’s application for a new natural gas price. Taxpayers, with most of them being the monopolist’s clients, are actually “sponsoring” the company and its highly paid staff, while the company’s decisions run counter to taxpayers’ interests. Moe examples might as well be cited. Of importance is, however, the following conclusion: despite their numerous reports, the sinecure organizations are hardly of benefit to the Armenian economy.
On top of all this, officials promote their well-being by participating in numerous projects sponsored by international financial agencies and donor organizations. This is actually the reason for various strategic programs, like the Poverty Reduction Program.