Azerbaijani President: Azerbaijan will join developed countries soon (UPDATE)
The Azerbaijani President's closing speech was added (the first version was posted at 3:25 p.m.)
All processes in the country are developing in a positive direction. It once again confirms that we have chosen the right way and our policy ensures the successful development, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev concluded at the Cabinet of Ministers' meeting dedicated to the socio-economic development in first six months of 2011, the Azerbaijani President's official website reported.
The Azerbaijani President said that especially now, the tension, confrontations, wars financial and economic crises occurring in various parts of the world show that all social and economic issues may be successfully resolved by conducting the right policy. Azerbaijan refers to the countries living at its own expense and receiving assistance from nowhere. There is no necessity.
The Azerbaijani President said the infrastructure projects implemented in Azerbaijan are important not only for the country, but for the region. In particular, the successful implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway construction today can be mentioned as an example.
He said implementing the major infrastructure projects and drawing additional funds for these purposes, willy-nilly, will lead to inflation. If we take into account that before the equipment and materials, required for infrastructure projects, were imported from abroad, now the necessary construction materials, equipment and appliances are manufactured in Azerbaijan due to the intensive development of local industry. This is a very positive phenomenon.
"At present, a number of important infrastructure projects are implemented in our country" he said. "I regularly get reports on the implementation of these projects. But I would like to once again list them for them to constantly be in the spotlight. The Heydar Aliyev International Airport is successfully reconstructed. A grand, new, modern building of the airport complex is being built. The operations are conducted on schedule and we will celebrate the opening of the Heydar Aliyev International Airport in 2013. Another international airport must be commissioned in Gabala, Azerbaijan, till late 2011."
President Aliyev said that a commercial sea port is under construction in Alat settlement. It is also a very big project. In particular, commissioning the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway by late 2012 must be coordinated with the construction of the commercial port. This will be the largest, most modern, most beautiful and grandiose sea port in the Caspian basin. Its capacity will enable the country to transport any amount of cargoes from East to West and vice versa. The work on this project is underway and it must be accelerated.
The construction of a modern shipyard has been launched. It must be constantly in the spotlight.
It will be also on a global level.
"One of the important projects implemented by the state is the construction of a large fertilizer plant in Azerbaijan," he said. "The preparatory work is underway. I hope that the foundation for this plant will be laid soon. Thus, Azerbaijan will not only provide itself with fertilizers, but a strong export potential will be created. The construction of this plant will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the development of agriculture and increasing crops."
At present, the process of industrialization is successfully conducted in Azebraijan, President Aliyev said. "The new companies and factories are opened," he said. "Their number is increasing. We have factories producing world-class products. We must operate for these products to be sold, especially in the country and for state-owned companies to use these products. In some cases, equipment or other products of the highest quality produced in Azerbaijan stand aside. The public companies buy their analogues abroad, despite the fact that the quality of these products may be lower and the price is higher. So I think that our regulating bodies must seriously deal with this issue.
I have repeatedly instructed the heads of public companies that, if the necessary equipment, products, pipes or any other goods are manufactured in Azerbaijan, they must be purchased, primarily in Azerbaijan. At present, we have created big, huge global enterprises, capable to produce any products. Their products remain aside. They work more for export. The state companies buy the same products abroad. What is their interest in this? This issue must be studied. I have often privately instructed on this issue, but unfortunately, we have not succeeded in this yet. This is my last warning. I think that the Ministry of Economic Development must conduct a special meeting on this issue. The representatives of companies producing world class competitive products must attend the meeting. Their products must be once more presented. The heads of state and private companies must be also involved. We cannot give instruction to private companies, but we can and must give them advice."
The products made in Azerbaijan must be used in large construction projects. "The world-class products manufactured in Azerbaijan and companies, fully meeting our internal needs, remain aside and similar products are imported from abroad," he said. "Why? We must protect our market. Therefore, a list and the specification of products must be presented. I am talking about the products corresponding the international standards. All our customs bodies must be aware of this and all this work must be coordinated. This issue must be closed once and for all. Take these actions and then report to me."
He said very important actions associated with the industrial development of the country are made. Azerbaijan established several large industrial centers.
"I spoke about this at previous meetings," he said. "The modern industrial complexes are planned to be established in Baku, Sumgait, Ganja and Garadagh district. The important actions have been made in this direction. Our country conducts a policy of industrialization. Otherwise, today we would not talk so much about the local production.
The measures are made to develop chemical industry. The enterprises are modernized.
The new technologies are introduced. I have recently visited the city of Sumgait and ordered to establish a chemical industry town. A large industrial park is being established in Sumgait. About ten new modern enterprises operate there. An area of enterprises belonging exclusively to the private sector must be also established around the chemical complex. This experience exists in developed countries and the CIS. We must use it for the entire technological process, up to the final products must be established. First of all, hundreds of new small and medium companies will be established. Thousands of new jobs will be created. The production process up to the final product will be organized in Azerbaijan. The instructions have been given on this issue some time ago. According to the information, the territory, that is, a land plot has been assigned in Sumgait. The State Oil Company, the Ministry of Economic Development and other relevant agencies must take concrete actions on this issue."
President Aliyev said he was informed about the development of the ICT sector. "We pay great attention to this area. Azerbaijan has taken bold steps to develop ICT if to view the CIS and the foreign countries," he said. "All the figures indicate that we are among the leading world countries. Launching an artificial telecommunication satellite into orbit by Azerbaijan will be a historic event. Minister informed about this. At present, we strive not to limit by launching the first satellite. The project of launching the second satellite into orbit is under development. On the whole, we have the experience in this area now. We have also attracted foreign specialists. We work with leading foreign companies. We will achieve a strong space industry in Azerbaijan."
He said mobile communication and Internet services are developing in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is referred to countries with unlimited Internet access. It has no restrictions. "I want to say that this situation is not observed in all countries," he said. "There are countries where the Internet is not free and limited. Of course, we know about these limitations. The international institutions associated with this issue are aware about this. But for some reason, it is out of limelight in some cases. The Internet is unlimited in Azerbaijan. This testifies to the fact that we pay great attention to freedom of press.
Freedom of press is fully applied in Azerbaijan. Let those international organizations that try to see the problems in Azerbaijan in this field give their recommendations to the countries where the Internet is not free. Let them speak about the oppressed freedom of media in the countries. We have recently witnessed this."
It has been reported today that the ICT revenues must be equal to oil revenues, President Aliyev said. "Ali Abbasov said it will happen in 2025. I guess you are talking about this on the basis of old calculations on reduction in oil production. But do know that oil production will not decrease by 2025. Therefore, the ICT revenues must reach the level of revenues obtained from the current crude oil production. It was stressed in previous calculations that Azerbaijan's oil revenues will sharply drop in 2025. As a result of the definite measures, we have ensured that the current level of production will remain stable till the specified time. This is a very large figure. It hits tens of billions. You must try for the revenues from the ICT sector to reach this level."