Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 24
By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:
Azerbaijan’s entrepreneurs engaged in small and medium-sized business (SMEs) activities should be more active, believes MP Rufat Guliyev.
He said that all conditions for the development of SMEs are created in Azerbaijan, and entrepreneurs need to use these opportunities more actively to increase the share of SMEs in the country’s GDP.
“Moratorium on business inspections has been introduced in Azerbaijan. In addition, various self-employment projects are being implemented,” he told Trend Jan. 24. “All these may boost the development of SMEs. The creation of industrial parks, emergence of various industry associations, etc. also have certain influence on this sector. All these steps are aimed at increasing the share of SMEs in the country’s GDP.”
The MP added that the share of SMEs in Azerbaijan’s GDP should be raised to the global level.
“Presently, the share of SMEs in the US GDP is about 60 percent,” he said. “In Japan, this figure accounts to 55-65 percent of the country’s GDP, in Spain -70 percent, and in Germany -55 percent. Azerbaijan needs to bring its indicators to this level. It is necessary to promote entrepreneurship, but at the same time, it is necessary to explain the risks and increase the knowledge of entrepreneurs. The number of SMEs in Azerbaijan is growing, but we aren’t satisfied with the growth rate.”
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, addressing the 'Strategic Outlook: Eurasia' panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos Jan.23, said that Azerbaijan has a special fund to support entrepreneurship, and through that fund, during the last decade, almost $2 billion was delivered to the private sector.
The president said the mentioned money was allocated to the private sector on a very preferential basis - low interest loans, with recommendations and state support.
"Especially, we pay attention to regional development. We are now implementing the third regional development program, which allowed us to create conditions for small enterprises to do business," he explained.
“Apart from that, our farmers do not pay any taxes, except for the land tax, and pay for only 30 percent of fertilizers and 50 percent of fuel. So this is the substantial state support to business," the president said, also adding the subsidies for farmers and very good investment climate in the country.
"We attracted $230 billion worth of investments, half foreign, half local, in the last fifteen years," Ilham Aliyev said. "All this created conditions for the private sector to develop."
The Azerbaijani president went on to say that the policy of support to the private sector will continue.
"The level of small enterprises in our GDP is still very low, therefore our main target for the coming years will be to create additional conditions for them, in order to generate jobs and more profit," he said.