- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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 July 18 , 2003 

Consolidated Governing: Newly finished government building puts seven ministries in one place

A building that had been half-built since Soviet times has recently been finished and seven ministries of the government will be moving their offices there.

The new government building is just off Republic Square on Nalbandyan Street and the hope is that by consolidating ministry locations the work of government will be more convenient and efficient.

The completion of the building is part of a mission by President Robert Kocharyan to finish construction on city-center buildings that have been idle for more than a decade.

International Business Center (IBC), a company owned by an organization of Russian-Armenian businessmen was awarded the construction project. In exchange for their work on the new government building, IBC was given three buildings previously housing the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Healthcare and the Ministry of Social Security.

The finally-finished government building will house seven ministries.

"There were offers of purchase (of the unfinished building) for 87,000,000 - 116,000,000 Drams (about $150,000-200,000)," said David Vardanyan, head of the Department of Control over State-Owned Property. "Later there was a meeting with the President during which it was decided to keep it for the government and to move ministries there as their expenses will be cut down being in one building. A contract was signed, according to which the organization that would finish construction of that building would be given the buildings of three ministries."

The deal was settled without conducting any contests.

Completion of the new building was valued at about $2 million, whereas as the market price of the three old ministry buildings is estimated at about three times that much, $5.4 million.

Still, the director of "AS" real estate agency Torgom Hovhanisyan says that the deal was profitable, as the old ministry offices no longer are relevant. "Buildings with small spaces are in demand in the city," he says. "It's almost impossible to sell big spaces. Nobody wants to purchase buildings with big spaces."

The new government building is 7,000 square meters - about 2.5 times smaller than the total space of the seven ministries previous offices.

Some workers have objected to the move, saying that offices in the new building are too cramped. And some departments (for instance the Employment Agency of the Ministry of Social Security) have refused to move. Workers also complained that they were forced to pay 5,000 drams (about $8.60) for moving expenses. One deputy minister of the Ministry of Social Security was fired, and some are saying it was due to the move into smaller quarters.

Government press secretary Mary Harutyunyan says cut-backs of staff are expected "however it has no relation with the relocation of the ministries."


According to Agnes
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  Photo of the week
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In a village near Tsakhkadzor an Armenian burro finds shelter from the Armenian summer.



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