One more productive year in activity of azerbaijan’s cabinet of ministers

Last week Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers provided a traditional annual report in Azerbaijan Parliament. All members of the Cabinet of Ministers, except law-enforcement bodies, came to give report before people. A general report on the activities of Azerbaijan Government in 2007 was made by the Prime Minister, Artur Rasizade.

Firstly the Prime Minister highlighted Country's successes on macroeconomic indicators in 2007. Particularly, the Prime Minister said that for rates of economic growth, the Country takes a leading position amongst the world countries and Azerbaijan's image under the conditions of globalization. Thus, the GDP totaled AZN 25.2bln, a 25% increase from the indicators of the last year. The GDP per capita rose by 23.6% and made up $3500. Last year, the average salary increased by 42% and labor pension by 76%. The criteria of need for poor layer of population increased from AZN 30 to AZN 40. Currently 78,000 families received targeted social aid and each family obtains nearly AZN 80.

Increasing money profits

"Last year the money profits exceeded 2.4 times the index of consumer prices and the Government intends to keep such tendency in 2008 as well," Rasizade said. The Government of Azerbaijan is concerned about the growth rates of the inflation in Azerbaijan which has made up to 16.7% as a result of 2007, said the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan. Such rates of increase of the consumer prices result from the processes in the world markets. According to the Prime Minister, increase in the prices for oil, foodstuffs and other commodities caused price increase for the products imported to Azerbaijan. In addition, realization of many social and infrastructure projects, increase of the budget expenses, money mass also led to inflation growth. In such a situation, the key target was to ensure growth of population's money profits in order to ensure their advantage over the inflation. According to him, the State Head imposed tasks to strengthen anti-inflation measures, including liberalization of the regime of out-flow of the capital, preparation of the Code on Competition. According to the forecasts of Azerbaijan's Ministry of Economic Development, inflation will make up 12-14% in 2008.

Establishing grain fund

There are plans to establish a grain fund in order to ensure food security of Azerbaijan, and the proposals have been presented to the Country's President, said Rasizade.

This issue became urgent due to protraction of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Unlike last years, in 2008 record volume of grain is expected to be produced in Azerbaijan because this year the grain sowing areas increased by almost 130,000 tons up to 601,000 tons. It provides grounds to expect that the grain production will increase by almost 300,000 tons. However, Azerbaijan is still unable to cover its grain demand at the expense of its internal production. This year the grain production in Azerbaijan is expected to increase up to 2.5mln tons. Accordingly 700-800,000 tons of grain will be imported. Last year 2mln tons of grain were produced in Azerbaijan, with 1.3mln food grain. The annual food grain demand of Azerbaijan equals 1.530mln, monthly 129,640 tons and per capita - 180 kg per month. In general, Azerbaijan's grain demand totals 3mln tons per year. The Government of Azerbaijan intends to fully refuse the grain import by 2010.

Eliminate illegal land sale

Garib Mammadov, chairman of the State Land and Cartography Committee of Azerbaijan, stated that municipalities and regional Executive Power of Azerbaijan will sale land areas through auctions and contests beginning from 2008. Under the Bill on 'Land', sale of municipal and local lands is implemented directly through auctions and contests. However, during the previous period, heads of Executive Power and self-governing departments sold lands without auctions, which caused negative consequences, Mammadov said.

"We developed proposals and submitted to the Government to cancel the item on direct sale of lands. The Parliament made necessary changes into the Bill and new amendments will come to force in the near future.

For 2007, State Committee revealed thousands of violations in the sale of lands by municipalities. Fine sanctions were used over 400 facts of violations.

Totally, there are 2,757 municipalities in Azerbaijan. Self-governing departments were established by the order of Azerbaijani President from 24 December 1999.

Paying attention to water economy

AZN 200mln will be directed towards melioration and drainage works in Azerbaijan in 2008, said the Chairman of Melioration and Water Economy JSC, Ahmed Ahmedzade. Within the Public Investment Program, the Public budget will allocate AZN 80mln. In addition, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan will allocate AZN 120mln for the construction of Samur-Apsheron canal. The investments for this sphere increased by 30-40%. Currently works are being carried out in 90 melioration facilities.

The construction of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2008, the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade said at the Parliament on 14 March. According to the Prime Minister, the construction is being carried out through the oil revenues of the country and the total cost of the project is AZN 480mln.

The project is intended for improvement of water supply to Baku. In 2007, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) invested AZN 132.8mln into construction of the water pipeline.

According to Rasizade, in order to implement the projects on improvement of water and sewerage systems in the country's regions, the Azerbaijani Government is attracting credits from the international fiscal institutions at acceptable terms. The credits have been already allotted by the Asian Development Bank (for three towns), the German Development Bank KfW (for two towns), the World Bank (the funds intended for reconstruction of water and sewerage systems in 22 regions have been already allotted and attracting of more funds for another 21 regions is being negotiated). The negotiations on 10 towns are also being held with the Japan International Development Bank and on 3 with the Islamic Development Bank.

The arrangements will enable the problems in this field to be solved within 3 years, Rasizade said.

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