February 24, 2012

ARFD Member of Parliament, Ara Nranyan was invited as one of the
guest speakers of a public discussion event organized by the Group
for the Defense of the Diaspora Investors, held on February 24 at
the Armenia-Marriott hotel. According to Nranyan stated
that presently there is no provisional policy for Diaspora investors
as is the case for Armenian businessmen, as well.

"There is a general problem in the financial spectrum of Armenia... We
have to work and optimize the business field so as to attract foreign
investments" he argued. In his view there are no major foreign
investments taking place in Armenia except from a few, and there are
almost no SMEs based on foreign capital.

Styopa Safaryan, Heritage (Zharangutyun) party's MP, said that from
government circles to individual citizens, Diasporan Armenians are
seen as money pouches. They do not comprehend the Armenian reality
and that complicates things even more, said Sarafyan.

The First Deputy Head of the State Revenue Committee, Armen Alaverdyan
said that diasporan Armenians enjoy the same rights as the citizens
of Armenia. Problems mainly arise because diasporan Armenians are
not fully aware of the legislation, said Alaverdyan and added that
in that sense state institutions must assist the Armenian Diaspora's
businessmen. The First Deputy also mentioned that humanitarian aid
and business should be distinguished from each other.

The cases of "Narekatsi" Art Union chairman and director of GH Storage
Enterprises Narek Hartunyan and of Parisian Cafe owner Valerie Ashkhen
Gordunyan were also brought into the audience's attention as examples
of diasporan Armenian businesspeople facing legal problems in Armenia.