Minister did not give clear answers at CC sitting

“You should have presented your reasons in due time and in due manner; the society would have greeted you with applause then,” member of the Constitutional Court Kim Balayan said in reply to Nerses Yeritsyan, a member of the CB Board, during the hearing over the disputed provisions of the mandatory pension reform.

Then the CC began questioning Artem Asatryan, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. CC Chairman Gagik Harutyunyan noted that under the new law the burden of the income tax and individual social payments is laid solely on an employee, with the employer having minimum liabilities.

The minister gave a general answer, referring to the Law on Income Tax which came into effect in 2013.

CC member Felix Tokhyan wanted to know why the pension reform has provoked street protests and uproar in different circles.

“Even the country’s leader [Serzh Sargsyan], said 80 percent of the public was against the pension reform. The Chamber of Advocates and the Public Council also denounced the reform,” he said.

The minister began to explain the reasons.

“Mr Hakobyan gave us the reasons yesterday, now I want you to speak about the risks,” said Mr Tokhyan. “Cannot we postpone the introduction of the system for 2-3 years? And don’t you think that the threshold is too high? Can’t people who receive low wages pay only 2 percent? I am offering you options.”

In reply, the minister said they had been developing the draft law for many years and eventually chosen the best model.