Azerbaijan, Baku, November 10 / Trend, I. Khalilova /
The assets of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAR) will increase up to $50 billion over the next five years, SOFAR Executive Director Shahmar Movsumov told Russian paper Moskovsky Komsomolets in an interview.
"If the existing crude oil prices remain the same and SOFAR expenditures are equivalent to that this year we can forecast that the Oil Fund's assets will be raised up to $50 billion over the next five years," Movsumov said.
At the date of its foundation, SOFAR had assets of $271 million. The sum exceeded $10 billion in 2008 and reached to $20 billion in 2010. SOFAR Director says Oil Fund's assets saw nearly a tenfold increase over past three years.
As of October 1, SOFAR assets increased by 41.6 percent against $22,766.8 million in the beginning of the year up to $32,242.5 million.
"Under the Oil Fund's Charter, one of SOFAR key objectives was to provide the financing of strategically important infrastructural and socially targeted projects in Azerbaijan. Some 2.8 billion manat were spent for such projects over the past decade," Movsumov said.
In the period, the SOFAR transferred 20 billion manat to the state budget for the reasons of implementation of state investment programs.
SOFAR Director says the Fund's early expenditures were designed to finance undertakings of improvement of living standards of refugees and internally displaced persons.
Construction of the railway Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, described as "the iron Silk Way", is one of infrastructural projects financed by the Oil Fund. "This will contribute to an increase of the transit potential of the regional countries and to acceleration of processes of Azerbaijan's further integration with global economy," Movsumov said.
Water supply problem has been urgent in the Absheron peninsula for centuries. "To resolve this problem, we assign funds to build water pipelines and irrigation systems," he noted.
The State Azerbaijani Students Education in Abroad Program for 2007-2015 is also financed at the price of SOFAR assets. "To our estimation, the number of students studying in abroad at the price of SOFAR money will exceed 1,100 by the end of the year," Movsumov said.
He said the only requirement for talented youngsters, who managed to enter foreign higher schools, is that they must return to homeland and work here for at least five years.
The State Oil Fund was established in 1999. SOFAR key priorities are the accumulation of assets and placement of assets in abroad with the aim of minimization of negative impact on the economy; prevention, to extent, of the Dutch Disease; the provision of accumulation of assets for the next generations; and the provision of financial support to the existing socioeconomic processes in the country.
The official exchange rate on November 10 is 0.7866 AZN/USD.