Recent findings by the Asian Development bank reveal that the Armenian Government has insufficient financial resources to complete a major motorway project connecting the country’s north with the south.
Speaking to Tert.am, Silva Adamyan, the head of an ADB working group conducting a monitoring of organizations, said their activities, conducted since 2009, herald no chances of bringing the North-South highway construction to life.
“Creditors are not able to exercise monitoring mechanisms, so it is for the state to demonstrate the necessary political will to construct the motorway which is of such a vital importance to Armenia,” she said.
In response to our earlier request, sources from the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies said the total spending of the project covered US $150.3 million and €23.14. But no further details were provided as to the further costs required for finishing the construction.
The ADB has periodically conducted meetings with Ministry representatives since 2009 and in 2011, it arranged talks also with top responsible officers for Caucasus projects. “We tried to convey to them our concerns over the lack of progress despite the availability of financial means. And in 2012-2013, we decided to raise the problem as we saw that absolutely no steps were being taken; what’s even more, we tried to involve members of the National Assembly. At the annual meeting in Kazakhstan, we informed the bank representatives of the situation and later really recorded a certain progress. For the moment, 31km out of the 556km are finished,” Adamyan noted.
She added that she also met with the ADB resident representative in Armenia. “What the top representative told me was that they treat that project very cautiously as they do not think the government can possibly continue it.”
“The Asian Development Bank’s funding for the entire program will amount to $550 million which will add to the European Bank’s allocation of $150 million. Yet, the government proves to be facing a shortage of means to complete the project,” Adamyan said.
Edmon Marukyan, an opposition MP from the political bloc Yelk, blames the government for abusing resources. “We never had such an unprecedented theft in the history of Armenia. The spent 5.650.000$, for 1km to complete only 31km and leaving another 525km unfinished,” he said.
Asked whether any legislative measures are being considered, the lawmaker did not rule out the possibility of raising the problem at a parliamentary committee meeting.