Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 10
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said that work on reduction of the foreign public debt should be carried out in the coming years.
He made the statement at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the results of socioeconomic development of the country in 2017 and future objectives on Jan. 10.
"We should work to increase the revenues of the State Oil Fund. Overall, our currency reserves, the State Oil Fund's foreign exchange reserves are increasing year by year. This, of course, will allow us to allocate funds for important projects of the country and ensure economic stability. The amount and increase of the currency reserves give us economic independence and we are not dependent on any financial institution. We take loans. But, I should also note that we need to follow a more serious policy on loans,” the President said.
The President noted that work on the reduction of the foreign public debt should be carried out in the years to come. "Today our foreign debt is at a reasonable level. However, I have set a task not to increase but reduce the foreign debt,” President Aliyev said.
“Increasing currency reserves give us economic independence. As I have said, we ourselves issue credit and we are not dependent on foreign loans. Even at the very low price of oil, we did not allow any delay in financing the Southern Gas Corridor, which is of strategic importance to the country, and almost certainly this project is about to complete. Thus, the high level of foreign exchange reserves strengthens economic independence. This, in turn, strengthens our political independence,” he said.
Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is one of those countries that pursue an independent policy.
"The number of such countries is not so many, especially this is not peculiar to countries with not so big population and territory. However, we are on the path of independence and our free and independent life is superior to us. That is why our economic potential is necessary not just for the solution of economic issues. Our economic potential increases our political power, strengthens our position in the region, and allows us to define and implement the long-term strategy of our country. Of course, our economic power has played a major role in financing the Southern Gas Corridor, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, North-South projects and other key projects. We have borrowed foreign loans for the implementation of major strategic projects. But if we had not had a very strong economic situation, we would not have been able to get these loans, and we well remember that there were not many willing to lend us loans when we had not money. As we have grown up economically, the resources of the Oil Fund have started to grow, then the number of those desiring to lend us increased, and we are already making the choice.”
In short, the level of our external debt should decline. This year's budget provides for repaying foreign debt. The main task is not to borrow foreign loans to the less important projects. We only need to borrow foreign loans for technologically important projects. Otherwise, it is not right to get a loan from abroad for the construction of a building or any other project that we can do using own capacities,” President Aliyev said.