Deputy Minister Karine Minasyan who is in charge of the assessment team, or the RIA team as it is called informally, says that the purpose of such evaluation is simply to make sure that life is not made more difficult for businessmen as a result of any new piece of legislation concerning small and medium enterprises and competition.
"We analyse every new law or decree that might have an impact on those fields and then decide whether they have a positive or negative impact. In the latter case we will send it back with our suggestions on how to make it better," Mrs. Minasyan says. “For instance, we have already sent back 60 initiatives that would have resulted in an additional burden to businesses.”
The Deputy Minister explains that such process will in the long run have a very positive impact on the Armenian economy as a whole.
"Basically what we do is look after the interests of businessmen during the legislation process with the aim of having a transparent and competitive business environment. Such assessment helps save taxpayers' money and time and make Armenia an attractive place for international investors as well," she points out.
Head of the RIA team Paruyr Jangulyan admits that the beginning of the project had its difficulties and that several shortcomings still have to be solved.
"We are talking about a huge amount of information we have to process, also we would like the public awareness to be higher. But we have a very good network and receive support from our colleagues. Also a manual on the process will be ready soon, which will make things easier for everyone," Jangulyan says. "A good sign is also that people involved in drafting legislation have started to ask for our expert advice."
From the beginning of the year the RIA team of the Ministry of Economy has analysed close to 300 laws and decrees to determine whether they might have a negative impact in the fields of SMEs and competition. In addition to the 60 cases, which would have had a negative impact, there were also 50 cases with a possible positive impact. In 10 cases the draft laws were sent back with instructions to provide additional information and argumentation. Regarding the rest of the laws and decrees it was determined that they would have no impact on those areas whatsoever.
Jangulyan explains that the most common negative impacts that they ascertained included additional reporting obligation or additional requirements for getting licenses and permissions.
"Obviously, for businessmen this would mean having to spend more time and money and is thus negative for the entire Armenian economy. However, I'm happy to point out that the positive impacts that we determined would achieve exactly the opposite - decreasing bureaucracy, facilitating cross-border trade and making the starting and closing of businesses easier," Jangulyan says.
The regulatory impact assessment is carried out under EU twinning project "Support to the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia: Regulatory Management / Standard Cost Model". The duration of the project is from February 1, 2010 until May 24, 2012. The project is funded by the European Union, with a budget of 1,100,000 Euro. The project objective is to develop a regulatory management programme that helps to make administrative practices more transparent and decrease the administrative burden in order to increase the attractiveness of Armenia for investors. The Member State partner of the project is HAUS Finnish Institute of Public Management.