Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr. S.Aliyev / The meeting of the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers, dedicated to the results of the socio-economic development in the first quarter of 2007 was held under the chairmanship of the Azerbaijan President, Ilham Aliyev, on 1 August.
Ilham Aliyev said that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 35% in the first quarter of 2007, and by two times within the last three years. The increase of industry production comprised of 35%, agriculture - 5%, benefits of the population - 37%, and salaries - 26% within the last six months.
Some 572,000 jobs, 405,000 of which were permanent, were created in Azerbaijan since October 2003. The President has reported a decrease of the level of poor in the first quarter of 2007. The head of the Government appreciated a noticeable increase of the population's payments to banks. Ilham Aliyev stressed the necessity to increase the battle against speculators, which abuse successes achieved by the country, and to strengthen anti-speculative measures.
The President ordered a focus of attention on purposeful spending of the budget. I. Aliyev recommended using the experience of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) in this direction. The President noted that social protection for families who have lost someone to war, pensioners, and the poor will be increased, with pensions becoming gradually increased. The currency reserves of Azerbaijan exceed $5.1bln. Azerbaijan will direct its energy carriers to the EU market in the near future.
According to the President, the state budget for 2008 will be developed in the near future.