Economy 14:25 28/04/2020 Armenia

Armenian PM urges citizens to pay utility bills to avoid ‘systemic collapse’

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on citizens to pay their electricity and gas bills, waning it could cause a systemic collapse in the county.

In a Facebook live on Tuesday, the premier stressed that the Electric Networks of Armenia and Gazprom Armenia buy raw materials to make products, pay the salaries of their employees, as well as pay large amounts of taxes.

He recalled the government’s promise not to cut off the electricity and gas supplies for consumers in case of their failure to pay off the utility bills, adding, however, while making the promise they hoped the state of emergency would end on 16 April.

“But the things did not go along with that. A situation emerged in which not only those who can't afford payments, but also those who can began to avoid paying bills,” the PM said, adding an analysis of the list of consumers who have paid the bills has revealed that rich people have stated to avoid paying their utility bills.

“In fact, subscribers do not pay the networks, the networks – the producers, the producers – the suppliers, their employees and taxes. As a result, there is a risk that we will not be able to pay pensions,” Pashinyan said, stressing the situation may also cause a systemic collapse in which the whole energy system in the country will fail to operate.

Over the past few days 7 billion drams of bills were paid, as a result of which the system was saved from collapse.

According to the data released by the PM, there are 775,000 electricity subscribers and 623,000 gas subscribers in Armenia.

At the moment, according to him, the electricity supply of 4,300 subscribers and the gas supply of 736 subscribers have been cut off.

"My task is to respond to the operative challenges. I understand that we will all suffer losses. But my task is to bring the country out of this crisis with minimal losses. This is our strategy,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

He stated the utility crisis should be resolved in a way other than the non-payment of bills, since it could lead to speculations and threaten a systemic collapse.

"We will obviously find another solution to the issue, but it will not be 100% perfect,” he stated.

The prime minister said Armenia will start easing the coronavirus restrictions in the next 10 days with safety guidelines to be set for each sector by the Ministry of Health.

“The restrictions will only remain in place in the education system,” he added.



Source Panorama.am
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