Details addded (20:15 )
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 29
Azerbaijan's currency reserves have increased by 23 times to $42 billion over the last 14 years, said Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev addressing a conference dedicated to the fourth year of implementation of the state program on socio-economic development of regions of Azerbaijan in 2014-2018, held at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku Jan. 29.
"We have invested in big investment projects, infrastructure projects, the construction of oil and gas pipelines," the president said. "These are the projects that require huge funding. At the same time, we have increased our currency reserves by 23 times."
"Today, Azerbaijan holds one of the leading places in the world in terms of currency reserves per capita," the president added. "Our currency reserves are equal to the gross domestic product. Economists know well what this figure reflects."
The head of state stressed that huge foreign exchange reserves are a great wealth of Azerbaijan, and give the country economic independence.
"Economic independence determines political independence. Countries that are economically dependent cannot pursue an independent policy or have difficulties in pursuing such a policy. We are pursuing a completely independent policy, we have our own position on all issues, and we express this position without hesitation. We are speaking from international stands on all issues of principle, we preach and defend justice and the rule of law," the Azerbaijani President said.
President Aliyev noted that very serious steps were taken to increase foreign exchange reserves last year. "Although last year our budget was not the same as this year, it was lesser, at the same time, the price of oil was still low. We, thanks to the right policy and tightened discipline in the financial sphere, increased foreign exchange reserves by $4.5 billion. I am confident that this year the foreign exchange reserves will be increased to a larger extent," Ilham Aliyev said.
The main goal, as the head of state noted, is to achieve long-term, stable and rapid development of Azerbaijan. "And we have achieved this. Today's realities, the prosperity of the regions, all the improvement works that are underway in all our cities, show that we are on the right track," the President said.
He further said that the economic indicators for the last 14 years also confirm the successful dynamics of overall development.
"The economy has grown by 3.2 times over 14 years. I believe that this is a record indicator on a global scale. Our non-oil economy has grown by 2.8 times, which shows that the development of our economy is not only related to the oil and gas production. Our economic development is multi-vector. The growth of the non-oil sector by 2.8 times is a result of ongoing reforms. A growth of 2.6 times was recorded in industry and 1.7 times in agriculture. Non-oil exports grew by 4.1 times," said President Aliyev.
The President reminded that a large program of regional development was launched in 2004 with foreign exchange reserves of $1.8 billion.
"At that time, I knew very well that this program would require huge funds, and our financial capabilities were not so large, that is, our foreign exchange reserves were only $1.8 billion. Despite this, we allocated large funds to the first regional development program. It shows once again that development of Azerbaijani regions, welfare and living standards of citizens living in the regions have always been a priority for us," President Aliyev said.