Aram Manukyan, a lawmaker with the opposition Armenian National Congress faction, criticized Armenia's government from the parliamentary rostrum today for significantly increasing the cost of the civil service and for neglecting a number of essential issues, like the decrease in retail trade.
“The civil service was quite modest up until 1998: there were 260 lawmakers in the National Assembly, each of whom had one assistant. Over time, we were left with fewer MPs and 810 staffers. The presidential office had 130 employees, now the number has grown to 417. Civil service employment has tripled, its cost has been unnecessarily inflated. Budget financing in 2010 amounted to 12 billion drams, while [the draft 2017 state budget] envisages 23 billions for the coming year,” Manukyan said during the discussion of the draft.
The oppositionist went on to assure that he did not offer to cut the number of civil servants and push them to emigrate; "You have to take a different route and increase revenue. Civil workforce is growing, while the number of taxpayers is decreasing. Over the past 22 months, small-trade turnover has been reducing by nearly 4% per month. This is the challenge we should focus on.”