Azerbaijani president: Azerbaijan's economy successfully develops in first quarter of 2011 (PHOTO)

Azerbaijani president: Azerbaijan's economy successfully develops in first quarter of 2011 (PHOTO)

Azerbaijan , Baku, April 13 / Trend /

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has today presided over a Cabinet`s meeting to discuss results of the socio-economic development in the first quarter 2011, Azerbaijani Presidential official website reported

The meeting started with opening remarks of the Head of State who said the country`s economy `successfully` developed in the first quarter.

"Our economy has grown steadily in recent years. Azerbaijan's GDP has increased almost threefold over the past 7 years. Our economy has grown by 14 percent even in the crisis of 2009 and 2010. Therefore, this high base growth in the first quarter observed at this high base, of course, pleased us," Aliyev said.

He said the economy grew by 1.6 percent in the first quarter.

"It is gratifying that our non-oil sector grew by 5.6 percent. As you know, our main task is to develop non-oil sector, reduce dependence on oil and gas factor and thus to diversify the economy. Although the industrial production increased by 0.3 percent in total, the main factor in the industry, that is encouraging fact, is that our non-oil industry grew by 9.8 percent," he added.

This, he said, suggests that investments, funds invested in the non-oil sector and conditions created for entrepreneurs gave excellent results. In general, the reason of not so much growth in industrial production is linked with a reduction in production in the oil and gas sector. However, this reduction, of course, is temporary in nature. Currently, Azerbaijan's oil production attained, we can say, high point and will remain at that level. Regarding the gas production, Azerbaijan's natural gas production must also grow in subsequent years through the investments made in it.

"One of the issues causing concern is that inflation rose by 9.1 percent in the first quarter. It worries us. But now there is one-digit inflation and we must preserve the one-digit inflation. However, the income increased by more than 16 percent. That is, if we compare inflation with monetary incomes, we see that there is a real income growth. I am confident that these trends will boost even more within a year," Aliyev said.

President went on to say that the country`s monetary reserves, which reached $34.2 billion, are expected to surge by the end of the year. All these processes go on in the light of implementation of great investment projects, in what the President believes are an indicator of economic and financial strength.

"I would like to note the construction of a new building of the Heydar Aliyev International Airport among the major infrastructure projects. Airport is the gateway of any country. Today, the international airport does not fully meet the current level of Azerbaijan's development, and especially our future development. So, it must have a new building. Work has already been launched. New runways must be built and the entire infrastructure service must be reconstructed in parallel. The Heydar Aliyev International Airport should become one of the most beautiful, most modern airports of the highest level on a global scale. I am confident that the construction will be completed in next two years and a very important facility for our country's infrastructure will be put into operation," President Aliyev added.

Other major infrastructure projects are being implemented in the country today.

"I would like to note the International Sea Trade Port among them. Work is progressing well there. Construction of a shipyard is underway. That is, if we add these two major projects and the airport, it would greatly enhance the country's transport capacity. It is planned to buy new ships, and ferries in the coming months, as the volume of cargo transportation through Azerbaijan is increasing. Although we have bought about ten new modern tankers and bulk carriers in recent years, the country still has a need for them. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway should be put into operation in 2012. We need to make all arrangements, so that to avoid any single day of delay after commissioning the railway. There is a matter of procurement of new ferries, and it will be resolved in 2011," he said.

A large growth has been achieved in information and communications sector in the first quarter of 2011. This sector is developing rapidly.

"I have repeatedly expressed thoughts about it. Azerbaijan has transformed into an ICT center of this region. The country traditionally hosts Bakutel exhibitions. The world shows increasing interest in Azerbaijan and the work ongoing here. This sector's development will promote the development of general intellectual capacity in Azerbaijan, and our intellectual capabilities. Moreover, this sector has great commercial value. It is already becoming a new source of revenue for us. This sector's revenues will have a very strong influence on the development of the country's economy in the future. A program to create an artificial satellite is being realized in the country. I hope that Azerbaijan will have its own satellite in the near future. This is a very important issue for the country's image and prestige. But, first of all, this is a very important project from a practical point of view. Income to be derived from commercial exploitation of the satellite will also create good opportunities for us," Aliyev stressed.

Photo - The official website of the President of Azerbaijan

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