Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend / The project of the 2008 public budget of Azerbaijan contains a limit for foreign debts in the amount of AZN 2.4bln compared with the AZN 1.2bln in 2007. The doubling of the debt amount is linked with the plans to place Eurobonds, issue price of which may be increased up to $500 from formerly offered $300. Nearly $600-700mln are planned to be attracted from European banks for the construction of the Alibayramli Thermal Power Station, $300-400mln for road construction, nearly $160mln from the Japanese Bank for international cooperation on improvements to the water supply system, and $300mln to support trade and transport.
Data produced by the State Statistics Committee show that Azerbaijan will continue being attractive for investments. During the first half year, nearly $2.5bln in foreign investments has been allocated for Azerbaijan's economy, an increase of 7.5%. The direct investments over the first half year totaled nearly $1.9bln and some $430mln of the amount came from foreign loans. Investments in the oil and gas sector increased by 2.6% and totaled $1.7bln. Some $156mln direct foreign investments have been allocated for the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan.
The oil sector still remains the most attractive sphere for foreign investors. High oil prices and the country's stable oil policy makes it the priority for business people who are interested firstly in re-earning their investments that they put into Azerbaijan's economy. Since 1994, the amount of direct foreign investments into the oil sector has made up $20bln, while in the non-oil sector investments made up some 2%. Given the situation, when the attention of foreign investors is focused on the oil sector, the Azerbaijani Government makes its best to promote investments and to attract foreign investors interested in developing the non-oil sphere. The Azerbaijani Government charged the Azerbaijani Investing Company (AIC) with implementation of the state strategy on development of the non-oil sector.
As a result of AIC's activities in Azerbaijan's non-oil field, an iodated salt producing plant, herbage treating plant, dairy and cement plants, oil terminal, petrochemical complex, and a ship-building company will be constructed. AIC intends to consider several agricultural investment projects by the end of 2007. The company is interested both in application of the world's latest technology in planting of vegetables, fruits, and flowers and in processing agricultural industry.
According to the Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry's forecast, this year for the first time since 1994, internal investments in the Azerbaijani economy will exceed the amount of foreign investments. This will be a result of increased opportunities within Azerbaijan, not its market being closed to the foreign world.
(Leyla Abdullayeva - expert of Trend news agency)