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Armenia Approves $54 Million Credit For Construction Sector

YEREVAN -- Armenia's government has approved 20 billion drams ($54 million) in credit guarantees for local construction firms in an effort to boost the economy.

The construction sector contributed one-fourth of Armenia's GDP last year, but has weakened in the face of a declining housing market and the global economic crisis. Unfinished construction projects litter the country's capital.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian told his cabinet earlier this week that because the credits are intended to jump-start the housing sector as well, projects "at least 75 percent" complete will be given preference.

A builder told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that he isn't worried about selling the apartments once they have been completed. "It's just that the economic situation is pushing apartment prices down," he said.

Meanwhile, Armenia's Central Bank allocated 5 billion drams ($13 million) on April 9 for a new mortgage company that will provide cheaper loans.