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Commissioner Fighting Against Monopolies Protects Armenian Oligarch’s Business

Armenia has no monopoly on sugar imports, while "Alex Grig" Company (owned by Republican Party MP Samvel Aleksanyan’s family – Epress.am) has a dominant position due to importing raw sugar and producing sugar in Armenia, said the RA State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition (SCPEC) Chairman Artak Shaboyan in the National Assembly yesterday, March 25, in a response to Armenian National Congress faction MP Nikol Pashinyan.

“On March 2, 2015, when Serzh Sargsyan reappointed you, the price of sugar in Yerevan was 395 drams, while 262 drams in Tbilisi. How is this connected to the fact that only one person imports sugar in Armenia and that person is Republican Party member Samvel Aleksanyan? Have you looked into what Serzh Sargsyan’s January 29, 2014 visit to the Czech-Armenian community could have had to do with the latter fact? When they asked him why only one person imports sugar in Armenia, he said 'what do you want, for 10 people to import sugar in a tiny country?' Mr. Shaboyan, you say that we have to fight against state patronage, in order for the state not to hand out monopolies. Then how should we take this?”Nikol Pashinyan had asked.

Shaboyan said that the issue was entirely on an economic level, and that Nikol Pashinyan’s question was absurd and pointless.

“'Alex Grig' company imports raw materials and produces sugar domestically. Producing in the country is more beneficial and profitable. In order for a second company to enter this sector, they would have to produce domestically. The sugar is produced in a large factory, large investments have been made, there is more produce than there is demand, and there are periods when the factory does not function. Economically, a second factory would not be logical because the current factory has vast capabilities,” said Shaboyan.

He added that the objective of his commission is to check whether there are obstacles for import in Armenia, and that he can assure that there are no obstacles for importing either raw materials or ready-made sugar. 

Pashinyan countered, stating that, when he looks at Shaboyan, he understands how absurd and pointless those who appointed him actually are.