Home Statements Statement regarding “Draft Law on Making Amendments and Supplements to RA Law on 2020 State Budget”
Statements
2020 May
14

Statement regarding “Draft Law on Making Amendments and Supplements to RA Law on 2020 State Budget”

The parliament exercises oversight over the executive branch of government, among other instruments, through the approval and oversight of the main financial document of the country – the state budget. This mechanism of checks and balances ensures prevention of abuse of power as best as possible, thus safeguarding the constitutional guarantees for the regular activities of the branches of government.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced countries to significantly revise methods of governance in order to be able to respond to the impacts of the pandemic efficiently in order to mitigate immediate dangers posed to public health. With this justification the Armenian government asked the National Assembly on April 29 to make amendments and supplements to the Law on the 2020 State Budget, which effectively allowed the government to make reallocations of more than the 3% threshold defined by the Law on the 2020 State Budget as well as the right to involve additional debt to cover the budget deficit.

The justifications of the law have only pointed out to general numbers, i.e. 150 billion AMD for social and economic aid, including 80 billion AMD for long-term economic development, 25 billion AMD for supporting enterprises and 20 billion AMD reserves for making reallocations. Moreover, the agenda for the long-term economic development, the scope of enterprises and targets for social assistance are not clear.

In general, foregoing any of its oversight instruments by the National Assembly is problematic, including during states of emergency and in a time of related uncertainty as it contributes to the decline of transparency in processes of public administration and the increase of factors giving way to corruption. The aforementioned legislation creates an unwanted precedent that can may be applied in other situations.   

We hereby call on the Armenian authorities to refrain from such practices. Namely, we call on the Government of Armenia to carry out the entire process of projects in question in a more transparent and accountable manner than prescribed by law.

We call on the National Assembly of Armenia to request a performance report from the government regarding the expenditures of 150 billion AMD subject to reallocation, thus, at least post factum, implementing proper parliamentary oversight on changes made to the state budget.

  1. Transparency International Anticorruption Center
  2. Open Society Foundations – Armenia
  3. Journalists’ Club Asparez
  4. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
  5. Law Development and Protection Foundation