March 31, 2010

YEREVAN, March 31. /ARKA/. Solution of social problems and protection
of vulnerable population still remain priority for the Armenian
government, said Tigran Davtyan, Armenian Minister of Finance.

"We consider social sector important despite crisis and difficulties
and economic and socio-economic policies were targeted at the provision
of worthy social protection of population", said Davtyan during the
press conference on Wednesday.

Social problems of population are in the center of attention of
the President and Prime Minister of Armenia and they make special
instructions for the implementation of social measures.

By the decision of Prime Minister of Armenia working group headed
by Minister of Finance was created which submitted the measures for
smoothening negative impact of price increase on the population in
a short period of time.

On March 25 decision was carried out on increasing family benefits
by 15% from May 1 and pensions by 11% from November 1.

Increase of benefits will cover 110 thousand families including
several hundreds of people.

Family benefits will be increased in average by 3.5 thousand drams.

According to calculations additional expenses of population in the
result of gas tariff increase will be 2.4 thousand drams per month.

Increase of pensions will cover 525-530 thousand pensioners. Pensions
will increase by 2.6 thousand drams.

"We speak about 1 million vulnerable population. I think that it is
fair decision", said the Minister.

Additional financial allocations from the budget for increasing family
benefits and pensions will make 6-6.5 billion drams and the government
has enough money for their increase.

>>From April 1, 2010 gas tariff for the subscribers using 10 thousand
cubic meters per month will increase from current 96 drams to 132
drams for 1 cubic meter of gas. Consumers using more than 10 thousand
cubic meters per month will make $243.13 for 1 thousand cubic meters
instead of current $215. ($1 - 398.29 drams).