“Hetq” published an article on October 21 stating that a secret decision by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has doubled the salaries of ministers and deputy ministers.
The following day, Prime Minister’s spokesperson Vladimir Karapetyan published a post on Facebook explaining why the prime minister had secretly raised the salaries of officials. During a question and answer session with the government in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Pashinyan also touched upon the issue, noting that the issue of raising salaries has long been discussed in an open manner, and that the extra money is being provided from the remuneration funds of this year’s state budget.
Thus, according to the calculations by Hetq, since July 2019 the monthly salary of ministers has become 1.5 million drams, and the deputy ministers’ salary 1 million accordingly. The spokesman for the prime minister noted that the salaries of governors have also increased to 900,000 drams.
On the remuneration of officials
The procedure for remuneration of persons holding public office is prescribed by law. For each position there is a coefficient multiplied by the base salary of the year (66.140 drams).
Officials may also receive additional salaries and bonuses.
The extra salary is given as an add-on and as a bonus. It depends on working conditions, employee skills, experience, etc. The additional salary fund may not exceed 30% of the salary fund of the institution.
Another issue is the reward system. It is a one-off payment that is generally paid for good work. In the case of a rewards fund, the restriction is not severe. Although these funds may not exceed 30 percent of the payroll fund, institutions may have several such funds at once. For example, if you have 3 or 4 sources, the remuneration fund may even exceed the salary fund.
According to Vladimir Karapetyan, the new order also sets out provisions on limiting the amount of remuneration funds.
Actual salaries of the officials
The doubling of salaries of ministers and deputy ministers has caused a lot of controversy, however, it turns out that officials are not new to earning 1.5 million or more per month.
Thus, the Fact Investigation Platform has studied the declarations of several ministers and deputy ministers fired in recent months and found out how much their earnings were before the Prime Minister’s instruction in July.
Former Minister of Justice Artak Zeynalyan resigned on June 14, 2019. According to Zeynalyan’s declaration as of the day of leaving office, his income for the period January-June, 2019, including both the remuneration and salary, totals up to 7 million 164 thousand drams.
It turns out that Zeynalyan’s average monthly salary was 1 million 200 thousand drams. According to the regulation, Zeynalyan’s monthly salary without bonuses and remuneration should have been 793,000 drams.
The remuneration for two Deputy Justice Ministers Suren Krmoyan and Artur Hovhannisyan is also interesting: they received as much income in three months as Artak Zeynalyan in 6 months.
Suren Krmoyan was appointed Deputy Justice Minister in 2014, and was relieved of his post in March 2019.
In a declaration filed in March on the termination of his position in office, his income amounted to 7 million 224 thousand drams. It turns out that Suren Krmoyan received an average monthly salary of 2 million 408 thousand drams and other payments equal to that for 3 months. The Salary of the Deputy Minister presented in the annual declaration in 2018 is 16 million 286 thousand AMD.
Accordingly, during the 12 months he received more than 1 million 380 thousand drams a month. According to the law, the first deputy minister receives 661 thousand drams without additional fees, and the deputy receives 562 thousand drams.
Thus, Krmoyan received a bonus and extra salary that was four times bigger than the salary set by the budget. First Deputy Minister Arthur Hovhannisyan also served until March 22, 2019. His average monthly income is about 2 million 300 thousand drams.
For comparison, David Pakhchanyan, who was appointed Deputy Defense Minister on June 8, 2018, declared 803,000 drams in revenue in January-March 2019.
Thus, in fact, some officials have received salaries several times higher than planned in the budget from the beginning of this year or even from the previous year.