Main tasks of Azerbaijan's economy fulfilled - Ilham Aliyev
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30
Azerbaijan’s economy was developing, and the main tasks have been fulfilled, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said.
The president was speaking in Baku Jan. 30 at a conference dedicated to the results of implementing the "The State Program on socio-economic development of the regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2014-2018."
Ilham Aliyev added that the main indicators of Azerbaijan’s economy are positive.
“Azerbaijan’s agriculture sphere grew by 2.6 percent, the country’s non-oil industry - by 5 percent, despite the fact that the global oil price fell by 3-4 times,” he said. “We were able to ensure this development due to work carried out over the preceding years and deep reforms implemented in 2016.”
“Of course the ongoing global economic and financial crisis negatively affected our work as well, but I believe that Azerbaijan managed to get out of such a hard situation with minimal losses in comparison with other countries,” Ilham Aliyev said. “More than 100,000 permanent jobs were created last year. This process has been going on since 2004.”
The president went on to say that Azerbaijan was able to maintain the currency reserves of the country's State Oil Fund.
"I think this is very significant," he said. "The majority of oil-rich countries spent a part of their currency reserves, while we tried to save, and succeeded.”
“We are going to need our currency reserves for today, tomorrow, and these reserves are a factor that strengthens our economic opportunities, economic independence in general,” President Aliyev said.
Ilham Aliyev went on to add authoritative international economic institutions also highly assessed the work carried out by Azerbaijan in 2016.
“The biggest global non-governmental economic institution among them - the Davos World Economic Forum, which unites all the world leaders, as well as world’s political and economic elite, - once again gave a positive outcome in its report on Azerbaijan,” he said.
“Thus, in terms of competitiveness of countries, Azerbaijan has stepped up, settling for 37th place,” he said.
“According to another indicator of inclusive development among the developing countries, these estimates bring together about 80 developing countries, and Azerbaijan shares first and second places in this rating. This is the assessment given to our work by the leading international economic institutions.”
“Of course, we are doing our work not for the rating, but naturally, when such opinions are voiced, this pleases us even more, and at the same time, it is a kind of a signal to all financial structures in the world,” Ilham Aliyev said.
“So today its not a problem for Azerbaijan to get a loan for any project. Even our current policy is that we are not especially prone to attracting foreign loans.”
Azerbaijani president noted that from now on, it is necessary to seek to have the work done using the internal capabilities, because the growth of external debt is not a positive factor.
“In Azerbaijan, this indicator stands at a very good level, at about 20 percent,” he said. “This is a higher figure compared to previous years, and the reason is the devaluation of the manat. During the previous periods, our foreign debt didn’t exceed 10 percent. Nowadays, this is also an acceptable level, but we must try so that this figure wouldn’t grow, but on the contrary, would decrease.”
“In order to reduce the external debt, we must take foreign loans with utmost care,” Ilham Aliyev said. “But we can take foreign loans for projects of strategic importance for Azerbaijan.”
“In short, I believe the overall economic development in 2016 should also be positively assessed. In particular, the dynamics of the work carried out in the country’s districts was also preserved,” he said.
“Much work was done in Azerbaijan’s districts last year,” he added. “Social and economic development of the districts and implementation of state programs have changed the image of our districts.”
The Azerbaijani president reminded that today’s conference is the 14th in a row.
“It has been 14 years already that in the beginning of each year we evaluate the work done, identify shortages and compile an action plan for the future,” he said. “This year too we are holding this meeting, remaining true to this tradition.”
He expressed hope that the discussions to be held at the conference will make it possible to form an opinion about the work to be additionally implemented in 2017.
“While compiling the regional development programs we obtained conclusions from districts and the third state program, which is being discussed by us today, was drawn up and adopted in 2014 based on the proposals received and considering the strategic directions of the country,” Ilham Aliyev added. President Aliyev said the programs are aimed at solving all the existing problems, the social issues worrying people.
These programs are very concrete, and specific objectives are set in them, he added.
Ilham Aliyev noted that both the first and the second programs were successfully implemented, expressing confidence that the result of implementation of the third program will be the same.
The president said the adoption of the state program in 2014 is a historic event, because the development of Azerbaijani districts, diversification of the country’s economy, the implemented measures and infrastructure projects have created today’s reality.
“If we hadn’t adopted the program on my initiative at that time, of course, we wouldn’t have achieved today’s success in the districts,” Ilham Aliyev said.
“All our districts and cities have become well-maintained, beautiful,” he said. “Our main cities – Baku, Ganja, Sumgait – delight the eye, they are a kind of example for the world. Improvement work was carried out in all our cities and major infrastructure projects were realized.”
“This contributes to today’s dynamic development of Azerbaijan, as well as the effective use of these opportunities by business structures,” said Ilham Aliyev.