Yerevan Municipality spokesman Hakob Karapetya, in an interview with Tert.am on October 3rd, said that the budget for Erebuni-Yerevan celebrations has been significantly reduced this year compared to previous years.
In particular, to the journalist’s question as to how much money is planned for the festive events this year, Karapetyan replied: “We are talking about 150 million drams. I would like to emphasize that the budget has been reduced about ten times as compared to last year, although last year was a jubilee, so that amount was somewhat understandable, however, compared to its previous years, the budget has been substantially reduced. ”
The Fact Investigation Platform has decided to find out how much money has been spent on the Yerevan Day in previous years and whether the announcement of the spokesperson for the municipality is true.
In response to our inquiry, the Yerevan municipality has presented the budget for the Erebuni-Yerevan celebrations since 2015, including the cost for branding.
Thus, the budget for the festivities dedicated to the capital city in 2015 was 140 million drams, out of which 139 million was actually spent.
In 2016, the budget for the festivities was cut sharply conditioned by the April war, amounting to just 74 million drams, of which 70 million was spent.
Out of 105 million drams planned for 2017, 103 million drams were spent.
As for the events dedicated to the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan in 2018, their budget was quite large. Under former mayor Taron Margaryan’s administration, it was planned to spend more than one billion drams on the events dedicated to the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan, however later, Hayk Marutyan, after being elected the mayor of Yerevan, reduced the number to 813 million, of which about 507 million was spent.
Based on the response from the municipality to our inquiry, in 2019 the total budget for Erebuni-Yerevan festive events and branding amounts to 187 million drams, of which 173 million will actually be spent (the municipality of Yerevan informed us that this number may fluctuate but the change will be minor).
We contacted Hakob Karapetyan, the spokesman for the municipality, requesting comment on the inconsistency between the numbers stated in the interview and the response to the inquiry.
According to Karapetyan, the abovementioned figures relate exclusively to the money allocated from the community budget. “However, in previous years, unlike this year, a significant portion of the spending was done through non-budgetary means- donations and so on.That’s what I was referring to”,- mentioned Karapetyan.
That is to say, in previous years (except 2018), Yerevan Municipality has provided less money from its budget for Erebuni-Yerevan celebrations than this year, but the actual expenses for the events were also made through donations.
Whereas, no such donations are expected this year, as stated by Deputy Mayor Tigran Virabyan. Consequently, the municipality will spend as much money as it is planned by the budget for the festivities dedicated to the capital city.