BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 26
The budget for the fight against coronavirus in Azerbaijan exceeds 1.1 billion manat ($647 million), Vusal Gasimli, Executive Director of Azerbaijan’s Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication (CAERC) told Trend.
“Initially, when an Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers was created on behalf of President Ilham Aliyev, 10 million manat ($5.8 million) was allocated to combat the coronavirus. Currently, over 86 million manat ($50.5 million) has been transferred from the state budget, and by individuals and legal entities to the Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus,” Gasimli noted.
“At the same time, in accordance with the decree of the head of state, 1 billion manat ($588.2 million) was allocated from the state budget to eliminate the negative impact of the pandemic on the country's economy. It is also worth considering that Azerbaijan, in order to support the fight against the pandemic at the global level, transferred $5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO), said Gasimli.
CAERC Executive Director noted that further replenishment of the mentioned fund is expected, adding that funds mobilized against coronavirus in the amount of 1.1 billion manat reach 2.2 percent of non-oil GDP (gross domestic product).
“The support from the government, business and the public into the fund is an excellent example of social solidarity and national unity in accordance with the calls of President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva,” said the executive director.
“While Azerbaijan is independently fighting against coronavirus, more than 80 countries of the world have turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance. At the same time, the IMF and the World Bank Group appealed to the Group of Twenty (G20) to make concessions due to the debts of 76 countries with national per capita incomes of less than $1,175. The income thus obtained can be used to combat coronavirus in poor countries,” Gasimli added.
“The ease of central banks of large developed countries in monetary concessions to developing countries is absent. Moreover, since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, investors have withdrawn $83 billion from developing countries, thereby exacerbating their already difficult situation in the fight against coronavirus,” he emphasized.
“It is planned to provide SDR (Special Drawing Rights) assistance for developing countries, and liquidity support with the opening of swap lines is provided. Amid immersion in the recession of the global economy and the difficulties of developing countries in a single fight against the coronavirus crisis, Azerbaijan shows stability in the fight against global shock and pandemic,” Gasimsli said.
The executive director emphasized that the Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus, mobilized in Azerbaijan, covers expenditures in three following directions: support that will be provided to the sectors that are suffering losses, entrepreneurs and employees; social programs; cost for combating pandemic.
(1 USD = 1.7 AZN on March 26)