Azerbaijan, Baku /Trend/ Azerbaijan has been holding the leadership in the world for the economic growth for already three years. This figure made up 25% in 2007, said the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, in his New Year congratulation to the Azeri people.
According to him, the budget expenses are increasing each year and they rose by ten times compared to 2003. " Azerbaijan's 2008 Public budget will total AZN 12bln which will enable to resolve all facing tasks," Aliyev said.
According to the President, some 600,000 new workplaces, with 460,000 permanent, have been opened in Azerbaijan within the State Regional Development Program in Azerbaijan.
Aliyev said that the Country's dependence on oil and gas industry is decreasing, as well as the social direction of the budget investments is being maintained.
In 2007 the minimal wages and pensions were increased, and from 1 January 2008 the minimal wages will amount to AZN 60. This growth dynamic is not satisfactory and will continue in the future as well, Aliyev said.
According to Ilham Aliyev, the allocation of the social investments will be continuing in 2008 as well. He said that over the past four years, some 1200 new schools have been constructed and thousands of educational institutions have been repaired in the Country.
Highlighting the largest successes, the President said that in 2007 Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan began working practically with its full capacity, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline commenced functioning and the construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway started.
Ilham Aliyev regretfully stated that the talks in 2007 on peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict did not yield successful results due to the unconstructive position of Armenia. "We will never go to compromise breaking Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and will never agree with the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. All Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia should be released and the Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons should return to their Native Lands," the State Head said. According to him, the second Armenian state will never be allowed to be established in Azerbaijan's territory.
In addition, Azerbaijan is increasing its military potential. According to Aliyev, the military expenses in 2007 Public budget totaled nearly AZN 1bln and in 2008 this figure makes up AZN 1.2bln. "We should always stand ready to release occupied Azerbaijani lands," Aliyev said.
Moreover, the President expressed his congratulation on Solidarity Day of the World Azerbaijanis and voiced his confidence that in 2008 works will be continuing on establishment of a strong independent State.