SOFAZ: Azerbaijan cuts budget dependence on volatility of oil revenues
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 5
By Taleh Mursagulov – Trend:
Azerbaijan’s strategic currency reserves, which have reached $45 billion over 10 months, provide an opportunity for successful implementation of measures to counter the global crisis and rapidly solve economic, social, environmental and other issues, Executive Director of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) Shahmar Movsumov said.
Movsumov made the remarks in Baku on Nov. 5 at a joint meeting of parliamentary committees during the discussion of the state budget for 2019.
"The structural reforms carried out in all sectors of the country recently, the liberalization of the economy and the development of the non-oil sector have ensured the sustainability of Azerbaijan’s economy,” he said. “Today, the country has sufficient potential for development and financial potential."
“SOFAZ's basic indicators for 2019, as well as the parameters of the state budget have been formed on the basis of the average annual oil price of $60 per barrel,” he said.
SOFAZ’s revenues for the next year are projected at 15.579 billion manats, which is 28.4 percent more than SOFAZ’s revenues in 2017, and by 1.8 percent more than the figure forecast for 2018.
"Revenues from the sale of profit oil and gas accounting for Azerbaijan's share - 13.218 billion manats - have the biggest weight,” Movsumov added.
"Application of new fiscal budgetary rules on medium-term and long-term management of expenditures of the 2019 consolidated budget reduces the dependence of the state budget on the volatility of oil revenues and creates conditions for strengthening of budget discipline,” he said. “SOFAZ’s expenditures for the next year have been formed taking into account these rules."
He said these rules are an integral part of the reforms aimed at reducing the dependence of the economy on the oil.
"As a result of the application of the new fiscal rules for the first time in 2019, the non-oil deficit in GDP is expected to reduce by 1.7 percentage points, which demonstrates the positive impact of the budget rules,” Movsumov said. “In 2019, SOFAZ’s expenses, excluding the expenses for managing SOFAZ, are projected at 11.364 billion manats, which is 3.3 percent more than in 2017 and 0.7 percent less than the figure forecast for 2018.”
He said SOFAZ’s budget surplus in 2019 is projected at 4.214 billion manats.
SOFAZ was established in 1999 with assets of $271 million. As of October 1, 2018, SOFAZ’s assets increased by 8.88 percent as compared to early 2018 ($35.806 billion) and amounted to $38.987 billion.
Based on SOFAZ's regulations, its funds may be used for the construction and reconstruction of strategically important infrastructure facilities, as well as solving important national problems.
The main goals of the State Oil Fund include accumulation of resources and placement of assets abroad in order to minimize the negative effect to the economy, prevention of "Dutch disease" to some extent, promotion of resource accumulation for future generations and support of current social and economic processes in Azerbaijan.
(1.7 AZN = 1 USD on Nov. 5)