Public pensions are most effective in reducing poverty rates in Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 4

By Emin Aliyev Trend:

Public pensions are recognised as being the most effective mechanism of reducing poverty rates in Azerbaijan, according to the draft strategy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on its activity in the country.

The strategy is designed for three years and covers the period from 2014 to 2017.

'One of the key factors in the reduction of poverty rates is social transfers, without which the poverty rate would have been around 25 per cent. In 2010, 63.2 per cent of households in Azerbaijan receive at least one type of social transfer', the document said.

Azerbaijan's rapid economic growth over the past decade has generally been broad-based lifting all income groups and reducing poverty rates dramatically from 49.6 per cent in 2001 to six per cent in 2012, according to EBRD analysts. As of 2013, the poverty level made up 5.3 percent.

The significant success achieved in fighting poverty and unemployment in the country was also stressed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

"We have dramatically reduced the number of people living in poverty. Currently, the level of poverty in Azerbaijan is slightly more than five percent and that is at the level of developed countries. We are even ahead of some developed countries.

"Unemployment is also at a level of five percent and in Baku in my opinion, this question has completely found its solution," Azerbaijani President said at a conference on the results of the State Programme for socioeconomic development of Baku and settlements on December last year.

Official unemployment dropped from 12.7per cent in 1999 to five per cent in 2012, EBRD specialists noted.

"A downward trend was maintained even during the economic crisis. Wages grew by an average of 13 per cent in real terms annually between 2001 and 2008. With a high labour force participation of poor sections within the population, this increase in real wages also had a significant impact on the welfare of the working poor," the draft strategy said.

As of January 1, 2014, around 36,200 people were officially registered as unemployed in Azerbaijan, according to the Azerbaijani State Statistical Committee. The average amount of unemployment benefit in Azerbaijan is 268.5 manat. The rate increased 20 percent during 2013.

The basic pension increased to 100 manat, their average amount up to 170 manat, and the retirement age pension replacement rate was 45 percent. The average pension amount exceeds the retiree's subsistence level by 1.7 times in the country, whereas it was twofold less than that figure in 2003.

The official exchange rate for March 4 is 0, 7844 AZN / USD.

Translated by S.I.
Edited by S.M.

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