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Armenia faces pressing social problems

02 July 2014 [15:20] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

The Armenian government continues to deteriorate the social situation in the country, where one third of the population lives in poverty.

Despite mass social protests, the Armenian Public Services Regulatory Commission adopted a final decision on price increase in electricity tariffs by 10 percent from August 1.

Hundreds of citizens who objected to price increase held protests in front of the Commission's building. The police used force against protesters who blocked traffic.

The number of policemen was almost twice the number of the protesters, who demanded the adoption of a reasonable decision on electricity tariffs.

An increase in electricity tariffs is inevitable, the Commission recently reported. Otherwise the country's electric networks would be in a difficult situation with their debt reaching 16 billion 600 million drams ($40,291,354).

The price increase will lead to a new wave of emigration in Armenia, Secretary of the Armenian National Congress Aram Manukyan said at the Commission's meeting.

"If the Armenian energy system requires finance, try to provide that without ordinary people paying for it," he noted. "Otherwise, price increase will cause a chain reaction; a rise in the price of life and emigration."

Local experts believe that electricity price hike will lead to an increase in the price of all goods and services. This unpleasant tendency will further deteriorate the situation of the population who can hardly make both ends meet.

Armenia's poor population will not be able to withstand the new wave of price increase with a minimum wage which is insufficient for a normal life. Minimum salary in Armenia is 50,000 drams ($120), while the minimum consumer basket is 56,000 drams ($135).

Subsequent developments following the decision on price increase in electricity tariffs will be undoubtedly not pleasant for the Armenian authorities.

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