BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 5
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Nahid Baghirov on his appointment as head of Ismayilli District Executive Authority and Mirhasan Seyidov on his appointment as head of Neftchala District Executive Authority.
Speaking at the meeting, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- I am appointing one of you as head of the Executive Authority of the Neftchala and the other of the Ismayilli District Executive Authority. I am sure you will justify this high confidence and work so that people are pleased with you and I am pleased with your work. To achieve this, you simply need to carry out my instructions. These instructions are very simple – to be together with people, always be among the people, live with their concerns, wage a serious fight against corruption and bribery, contribute to the socioeconomic development of the regions. If you carry out these orders with dignity, then the state and our citizens will be pleased with your work.
Numerous projects on the socioeconomic development of Ismayilli and Neftchala districts have been implemented. All the issues stipulated under the state programs on the socioeconomic development of the regions have been resolved. The fourth program is currently being implemented, and I am sure that by 2023 all infrastructure and social problems of the regions will be completely resolved. Relevant instructions have been given in relation to gas supply, provision of electricity, construction of rural roads and implementation of drinking water projects. Many projects have already been implemented. As you know, these projects are being implemented by central executive bodies as part of the state investment program. At the same time, the construction and renovation of social facilities are also projects carried out by central executive bodies.
But your job will mainly consist in mobilizing the potential available in the district, ensure economic growth, take tangible steps to create jobs and attract investment to the districts you will be leading. The head of the Executive Authority of every district should work hard to attract both foreign and local investors. I had given such instructions before. There are good results in some districts, but there are also districts where investment is poor. There may be objective reasons for that. The potential of the districts is not the same, but despite this, I believe that, taking into account the modern infrastructure potential of Azerbaijan, every district can be attractive to investors. The leaders of local executive authorities should not simply sit and wait for these investments. They must be active, find investors, convince and attract them. In some districts, investors want to invest, but unfortunately they are faced with artificial obstacles or local executive bodies make unreasonable and illegal demands. Therefore, such phenomena must be fought very seriously. There should be a sound public and political atmosphere in the districts, public relations should be built on a sound footing. At the same time, problems of concern to people should be addressed. If there are problems you cannot solve yourself for some reason, you should submit proposals to central executive bodies, the Presidential Administration, the Cabinet of Ministers, relevant ministries and be active.
The fight against corruption and bribery in Azerbaijan is carried out in the most severe form, and this is evident. This is a conscious policy, and it will be continued in the future too. Everyone is equal before the law, no-one is immune, no-one has special privileges, no-one's former merits will be taken into account. Everyone received a well-deserved assessment of the state for their former merits. From now on, if someone wants to work in public service, in particular as head of the executive authority, these principles should be fundamental for them.
Unfortunately, there are still people who do not realize this. The special operation carried out in Neftchala district showed this again. This disgraceful picture right in front of everyone once again demonstrated that, unfortunately, some of our high-ranking officials not only fail to justify the trust of the people and the state, their actions cause a feeling of disgust. All this evidence is obvious. The video footage shown simply illuminate some points. However, in Neftchala district, bribery and corruption were systemic in nature, were part of the system. It is possible to say that bribery and corruption undermined all organizations there.
Just imagine – the head doctor of the Central District Hospital was one of the richest people in the district. Law enforcement agencies have now obtained information about his wealth. What made this man rich? Is he a businessman? No! An inventor? No! Did he inherit a huge wealth? No! Then how? With the money he extorted from patients. Unfortunate patients were forced to pay these greedy people to recover. This is why every person who has chosen this path should know that this will come to an end.
There should be zero tolerance to corruption and bribery. The disgraceful actions of the former head of the Executive Authority of Neftchala cause a feeling of aversion in our people. Receiving bribes from various people in his office is an ugly picture. In addition, look at the actions of this person in the office, his clothes. How can one wear jeans, home clothes in the office? What example does a leader show to other officials by looking like that? Therefore, these disgraceful images certainly demonstrate the degree of moral degradation of this person and people like him. Operational data has been collected and is still being collected. Of course, I do not want to interfere with the investigation. It will show everything itself. The last word will be said by the court. But the facts already revealed show that all departments of the Central District Hospital paid a monthly bribe to the head doctor. Bribery is becoming widespread in schools. School principals are required to pay a bribe, municipalities are extorted bribes, people are not involved in paid public jobs on a voluntary basis and the head of the Executive Authority pockets their pay. At the same time, those who receive a salary from the state and are obliged to work in paid public places are forced to work like slaves in commercial facilities and households owned by the head.
So I want to say again: this is the peak of moral degradation. Everyone should learn a lesson from this. It is not ruled out that people like him, heads of the executive authority and heads of other central and local executive bodies, are doing similar things. All of this will be investigated. No-one is untouchable, and these events showed this again.
You are young professionals. I have been provided with your resume. You have not committed any illegal actions, you are young, one of you is 40, the other 30 years old. You are representatives of the younger generation. Your appointment demonstrates our personnel policy. It demonstrates that the principles we have proclaimed are reflected in life. We must open the way for young people, the field of activity. People with a new mindset should be appointed to senior roles. In this way, we can break the old psychology. Only in this way can we put an end to the negative phenomena that are shaking our society. Therefore, the affairs in the districts you lead will depend on your work. If you don’t live up to the high confidence placed in you, this will immediately cause disappointment in society. They will say that new people have come, young people, people with a new mindset and a new approach, but they are going the same way. Therefore, I am strictly instructing you again: your main task is to properly build all the work and wage a serious fight against negative phenomena.
At the same time, it is first of all necessary to analyze the situation in the districts. You should seriously study the issues of concern to people, prepare suggestions on how to resolve them, or these issues should be resolved on the ground.
If the work is built properly, the potential of the districts can be fairly high. An industrial zone has been created in Neftchala district. I can say that the first industrial zone in the districts after Sumgayit was created in Neftchala. It has already started to operate. Cars in Azerbaijan are produced in Neftchala, so it is necessary to submit specific proposals on the further development of this industrial zone. I believe that the fishing industry in Neftchala has great prospects. Although we live on the coast of the Caspian Sea, unfortunately we cannot provide ourselves with fish and depend on imports. In addition, the establishment of fish farms did not catch on. A significant part of the available farms is at a very primitive level. Therefore, fish farming can become an important non-oil sector. It can and should become an export-oriented sector. Therefore, it is necessary to work hard to attract investors to this area.
At the same time, I believe that the tourism potential of Neftchala district is very promising. So far, it is safe to say that nothing has been done in the district to develop tourism although it is not too far from Baku. Besides, good roads are also being built. I believe that it is also a need to create a tourism infrastructure there. Of course, agriculture is an important labor-intensive sector in all districts of Azerbaijan. It is necessary to pay attention to this area as well.
As for Ismayilli district, I believe that the main potential for its development is associated with tourism and agriculture. There are beautiful and scenic places and abundant nature in Ismayilli district. Therefore, these opportunities must be used to the full. The state, for its part, will continue to take important steps related to the implementation of infrastructure projects. Just as a new road was built to the village of Lahij recently. In comparison with the previous road, it is much safer. In terms of the distance from Baku, it is shorter and leads directly from Shamakhi district to the village of Lahij. I personally participated in the opening of the road. I got behind the wheel myself and drove down this road. Tourists now have more opportunities to visit Lahij. At the same time, issues related to the gas supply of the village of Lahij and the construction of a new school have been resolved. I have signed an Order on the protection of the historical heritage of another historical village of ours – Basgal. This is a high assessment by the president of the history and rich cultural heritage of this village. After all, the president rarely signs an Order on the development of a particular village. True, these issues are always in the spotlight. Every village is dear and native for me, but there are historical settlements in various regions of Azerbaijan that need special care of the state. The key factors associated with the further development of the village of Basgal are the preservation of our historical past and the expansion of tourism opportunities.
In other words, I believe that there are great opportunities in the field of agriculture and the processing industry, and you should try to make sure that the work carried out in these districts gives a result in the near future. The following factors will play the key part in your work – popular satisfaction, development of the district, socioeconomic indicators and attraction of investments.
I want to say it again: you have been given high confidence. I am sure that you will justify this confidence.