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Press Conference of the Minister of Urban Development

 On December 22, Minister of Urban Development of the Republic of Artsakh Karen Shahramanyan convened a press conference to brief on the last year activities and the future plans. The Minister assesses 2017 as saturated and productive. According to him, 2018 will also be successful for the urban development sphere - several large programs both in Stepanakert and in the regions will simultaneously be launched.

Construction share is 6.1% of the total GDP of the country and 17.8% of the state budget. It was noted that though the state budget expenditures for capital construction in 2017 were envisaged to be 11 billion 700 million AMD, it reached to 16 billion 324 million drams by the end of the year. More than 4.5 billion drams of funding allowed a number of priority issues to be solved. Large-scale construction was implemented thanks to extra budgetary, including charitable means. The state budget allocation was 2 billion 424 million drams more than in the previous year. Only 553 million AMD was allocated from the reserve fund. The Ministry spent 80 million drams for the implementation of civil defense activities (shelters and other structures were built).

There were many projects implemented through the co-funding by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund.

In 2018, some projects envisaged for the rural areas will be implemented through regional administrations (the latter will act as customers) to raise their role and the efficiency of works.

During the year, improvement works were conducted in the Stepanakert streets and yards and some large projects have already been completed. K. Shahramanyan underlined that in 2017, an arrangement was reached with contractor organizations to implement priority programs on term payment. 

The arrangement will be in force for the coming years, and it is not excluded that street improvement, housing construction and other important projects will also be implemented in such a way. The Minister substantiates this decision by the state’s limited financial abilities in the event of problems requiring a prior solution. “Realizing all this, our contractor organizations support them by investing in the implementation of state-run projects, provided they will receive the payments within 2-3 years”, Mr. Shahramanyan said.

Great works were conducted in every area: health, education, culture and sports, communities, capital town, roads, water supply, and the results are obvious.

Since April 2016, the border-adjacent areas, especially the ruined Talish village, are of major priority in the large-scale state-run programs. Mr. Shahramanyan focused on Talish and the works implemented on the borderline. The works will be continued in 2018. 

K. Shahramanyan mentioned that in the recent years, the quality of the construction works has greatly increased, and the control has been strengthened, which has had its positive impact. He emphasized that in the near future, they would focus also on the seismic stability and reliability of buildings through the development and implementation of preventive, engineering-related programs aimed at raising the seismic resistance. 

The Minister of Urban Development answered the journalists’ questions. When asked how frequently he visits construction sites, meets with contractor organizations’ leaders and owners, what issues are mainly raised, Karen Shahramanyan answered that generally, he prefers to resolve the corresponding issues in place, that’s why he visits the sites frequently to familiarize with the construction process, to meets with the workers, and to discuss the issues of their concern.     

A number of questions were asked about the architectural appearance of the capital town, the location and expediency of the objects to be constructed, and Mr. Shahramanyan noted that the questions should be addressed to the Mayor’s Office of Stepanakert.  

In 2018, two large construction projects will kick off in the capital, which will make Stepanakert more prosperous and improve the daily life of its residents and visitors. It is a new and modern building for the Artsakh State University and a Sports and Culture Center. The Artsakh State University will not yield to the best universities in Armenia, and the Center will meet all the world standards, contributing greatly to the development of tourism, sports and culture in Artsakh.

Karen Shahramanyan wished a productive work to the journalists and peace and development – to Artsakh.