Due to the decision to increase the prices of energy carriers and tariffs on public utilities in the country, which was made by the Azerbaijan Tariff Council, there has been a need to change the methodology of appraising the strata of the society which is poor, as well as those persons who receive address social allowances.
Trend reports that Vafa Mutallimova, a Docent of the Azerbaijan State Economic University and independent expert reported this during the meeting of the leading independent economists with representatives of mass media, which was organized by the Centre for Economic Research.
According to her, the address social allowance has been intended for the support of poor stratus of the society. However, the increase in prices could hardly be compared with the volume of funds stipulated for the support of those stratus allotted from the State Budget. On the other hand, the criterion of need, which determines those who are to receive address social allowance, are in a worse situation, despite its increase up to 35 AZN since 1 January, 2007, and up to AZN 40 since 1 July, 2007, and due to the upcoming increases in prices which will result from the existing increases. Taking into consideration all of the above, Mutallimova proposes to take urgent measures to change the mechanism on paying the address social allowance in the country.
The State Budget 2006 envisaged some AZN 78 mln. for these aims. In 2007, the corresponding volume has been increased by 10%.
In the case of non-changing the mechanisms, the number of underprivileged stratus of the society, which reduced from 40,2% to 29% over the past year, will increase again.
At present, the level of underprivileged is counted based upon the cost of living in the country. In 2007, the cost of living in Azerbaijan has increased up to AZN 64.