Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree Dec. 29 to write off the population's natural gas debts, the AzerTaj state news agency reported.
According to the decree, steps have been taken to ensure the population's natural gas needs. Significant progress was marked in gas infrastructure reconstruction in the recent years.
Gas pipelines have been laid to cities and regions, which previously did not receive natural gas. Gas meters were also installed to make payments for gas.
Consumers have neglected their gas bills in the past, which has led to large debt. Natural gas supplies have not been regularly supplied to the population as a result, and energy infrastructure has not fully developed.
Aliyev has decided to annul the population`s gas debts worth 327 million manat to Azerigas as of Oct. 1, 2009 to strengthen social protection and regulate natural gas consumption costs.
The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic will receive compensation equal to the debts written off from the 2009 state budget.
SOCAR has been instructed to take the necessary measures to collect timely the full cost of natural gas from consumers. The Cabinet of Ministers has been asked to ensure the payment of the compensation by decree.