President Serzh Sargsyan made a working visit to Vayots Dzor
President Serzh Sargsyan made a working visit to Vayots Dzor to participate at the first conference of rural communities in Jermuk which is conducted in the framework of the events dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the local governing bodies (LGB) and is aimed at the enhancement of the rural communities’ development.
The President of Armenia congratulated participants of the conference on the 15th anniversary of the LGB, welcomed the idea to conduct the conference which, according to the President, will allow to concentrate on the rural areas and their problems and jointly discuss existing issues.
Serzh Sargsyan underscored that even development of the territories remains a priority for the state. Toward this end, a concept on the development of the RA territories has been drafted which will allow to view the implementation of a program from the viewpoint of the given territory’s even development. In his words, among other things, the even development supposes also the development of essential infrastructure and efficient agriculture. “I would like to stress once again that this year we are celebrating very important for our nation jubilees. This year, when we celebrate our 20th anniversary of independence, the most important state institutions also celebrate jubilees and among them, I would like to single out the 15th anniversary of our local self-governance system. I believe, the significance of the structure makes it one of the most important institutions of our state.
A mature system of self-governance supposes a strong and developed community and especially, prosperous rural communities,” President Sargsyan said.
According to Serzh Sargsyan, in recent years, particularly with regard to the improvement of infrastructure, there are certain accomplishments already. Multiple projects on the road construction and infrastructure rehabilitation have been implemented, considerable efforts have been put in the development of rural communities and their economic opportunities, as well as for the assistance to agricultural reforms.
Investments in the educational, social and cultural areas in the marzes continue, medical institutions are being constructed and renovated which increases possibilities to receive high-quality medical services.
Noting that these works were being financed from different sources – grants, loans, state revenues – Serzh Sargsyan said it was important that in the distribution of these funds the opinion of the LGB, the beneficiaries themselves is taken into account.
“Works on the implementation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation programs is a bright example. We have consulted with the people on all components of the program and were able not only to determine priority issues but also ensure public support which also helped to successfully implement the irrigation component of the program. Naturally, it contains also supervision mechanisms and it is no accident that in the opinion of the American management of the program, the program implemented in Armenia has been recognized as one of the best. And on this I am a little modest, because recently the Executive Vice President of the MCC visited us and said that the MCC program implemented in Armenia was the best in the world,” President of Armenia said in his remarks addressed to the participants of the conference.
In his words, programs which have all-state importance and are implemented mostly through the Ministries, are also being developed and implemented through the LGB, heads of marz administrations and other interested parties. “Besides, we allocated funds so that leadership of regional administrations and local governing bodies in consultations with the population, implement their priority programs. As you know, only this year we have allocated from the state budget 20 billion AMD to solve most pressing issues which have been present and will be present in our communities for the foreseeable future. Three hundred forty-seven rural communities are beneficiaries of these programs and means are first of all directed at the improvement of infrastructure.
Issues of efficient agriculture are also pivotal for us and their solution will promote development of rural areas. Prosperous rural areas and prosperous communities along with all necessary social and manufacturing infrastructures created for their inhabitants, are in the core of our policies. Our future steps will serve this purpose.
Today, we can already state that the local self-governance system employs workable mechanisms and consequent works should be aimed at the enhancement of their efficiency and increased responsibility of the local governing bodies.
In recent years, works have been conducted on the improvement of the mechanisms for financial leveling; the LGBs are more responsible on the collection of their own revenues, although on a modest scale by priority programs are being implemented locally with their own means. In recent years, the communities eliminated the so called “tradition” of accumulating debts. As you remember in not so distant past, just 4-5 years ago, the communities were accumulating huge debts and we had to repay them with delays in three or four years. It is my deep conviction that it was a dissipation of resources; we have been able to overcome that and for that I express thanks to the heads of the marzes, community leaders and, certainly, to the Ministry of Territorial Administration, and personally to the Vice Prime Minister. It is, undoubtedly, a step forward.
However, our goal is to have the most viable, large and financially sound communities, with transparent and just administration on a local level, and population which is able to solve its priority issues on the spot, in cooperation with the local governing bodies,” the President of Armenia said.
Serzh Sargsyan declared that the state will always support the LGBs, raising their role. He expressed confidence that representatives of the LGBs are also determined and in the interests of their areas, villages and communities will be able to elevate the reputation of the LGBs and role of the community leaders. “We need time to achieve all that, it’s a long way. But the most important thing is that we are on a right track, and I am confident that we all are determined and will achieve our goal,” the President of Armenia underscored.
In Jermuk, Serzh Sargsyan visited also the exhibition organized in the framework of the conference and dedicated to the results and achievements of the programs implemented in the marzes and rural communities of Armenia by the international organizations in the last twenty years.
After the conference, President Sargsyan observed construction works of a new hotel compound realized in the framework of the Jermuk development program. Construction works, which commenced in 2009, are scheduled to be completed in 2013.
In the evening, the President of Armenia will tour Jermuk and familiarize with the works on a complete renovation of the town’s night illumination network which are conducted through the means allocated by the fund on the social and economic development of Jermuk.