Last week review (march 12-17)

March 12

Azerbaijan synchronises agreements on avoidance of double taxation

Azerbaijan is continuing discussions on the synchronisation of the draft agreements on avoidance of double taxation with six countries (Ireland, Slovakia, Syria, Sweden, Malta and Vietnam), the government's report for 2011 submitted to the Parliament said.

'In 2011 work continued on the signing of an international agreement 'On the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on income and property'. By the end of last year Azerbaijan concluded agreements on avoidance of double taxation with 41 countries and 37 of them are already in force', the report said.

A similar agreement was also signed on Monday with Croatia during a visit of President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic to Azerbaijan.

Today, experts' texts on the agreements with nine countries (Singapore, San Marino, Oman, Spain, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and Macedonia) were agreed.

Interest on leasing rates changes in Azerbaijan

In the second half of 2012 interest rates on products relating to leasing companies in Azerbaijan will change, Jeyhun Naghiyev, Director General of the Azerbaijani leasing company Ansar Leasing, established by the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD and member of the Islamic Development Bank) said.

"In the second half of 2012 the country will see very different picture emerge of the interest rate level on leasing. A trend toward lower interest rates has already taken shape," said Naghiyev.

At present the average interest rate on leasing depending on the product varies within the range of 18-22 per cent per year. On this and a number of other indicators, leasing is lagging behind its main competitor, bank lending.

However the integration of the Azerbaijani economy into international markets, the increase in the financial resources of the country, as well as improved income levels and other factors will affect the interest rates, chairman of the Azerbaijani-Pakistani company MCB Lizinq Ramal Jafarov said.

TASIM participants sign agreement on confidential information

The participants of the Transnational Eurasian super informational highway (TASIM) construction project signed an agreement on non-spreading of information, the head of the working group on TASIM project Ilyas Naibov-Aylisli said.

The document was signed within the third meeting of TASIM project participants, which took place in Budapest in early March.

"The agreement will create an atmosphere of trust between the project participants, allow sharing information about technologies, state of networks," he said. This is an important step. It is planned for the work on the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding to be launched at the upcoming fourth meeting of the working group, to be held in Kazakhstan in late April."

It will be possible to establish the consortium on the project after the contract Maintenance agreement is signed. It is one of the most important issues. The work is underway.

Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan discuss Trans-Caspian fiber-optic line

Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan discussed the construction of the Trans-Caspian segment of fiber-optic cable line, the head of the working group on TASIM project (Transnational Eurasian super informational line) Ilyas Naibov-Aylisli said.

The issue was discussed at the third meeting of TASIM project participants, which took place in early March in Budapest.

Naibov-Aylisli said the construction of the Caspian segment of the cable line has been discussed on a bilateral basis and in this respect much depends on the financial aspects. In general, there is progress on this issue.

"Technical work on the construction of TASIM will be completed by the end of 2013. Much depends on the construction of a cable system, which is an important component of the project. In general, network operators, involved in the project, are developed enough and the work will be done in those areas where an additional optional cable line should be laid. One of these sites is the Caspian segment," Naibov-Aylisli said.

Regularity of foreign borrowings ensures stability of banking system of Azerbaijan

Sixteen percent of the liabilities of the banking system of Azerbaijan, or 1.9 billion manat accounts for the foreign borrowings.

It was stated in a government report on the results of 2011, presented to the Parliament.
"The regularity of foreign borrowings ensures the stability of banking system of Azerbaijan, this activity continued in 2011," the report said.

Foreign borrowings amounted to 1 billion manat in 2011. The volume of foreign investments attracted to the capital of Azerbaijani banks, increase to 50.6 million manat in 2011.

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) noted that the number of banks with foreign capital increased in the country in 2011.

Today there are 23 banks with foreign capital in the country compared to 22 banks in the third quarter of 2011. The proportion of foreign capital formed in the range from 50 to 100 percent in seven of them, up to 50 percent - in 14 banks; there are also two local branches of foreign banks.

During this reporting period 44 banks had a license to conduct banking activities.
The number of structures of banks operating abroad is nine, including six offices, two subsidiaries of the bank and one branch. Azerbaijan also has five representative offices of foreign banks.

MONEYVAL approves report of Azerbaijan in field of combating money laundering

Thirty eighth Plenary Session of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism of the Council of Europe (MONEYVAL) has approved the report of the Azerbaijani government on the status of work conducted in the country in the direction of combating money laundering and legalization of other property from crime and terrorist financing.

MONEYVAL meeting was held on March 5-9 in Strasbourg (France). Azerbaijan delegation headed by chairman of the SSC Rufat Aslanli participated at the event.

"The status of implementation by Azerbaijan of recommendations, reflected in the "horizontal review" of MONEYVAL, prepared in 2010 based on reports from the third stage of the joint assessment was discussed at the meeting along with other issues" the report says. "During the meeting, the Azerbaijani delegation presented a report on work implemented."

The reports of countries which have deficiencies in implementation of the recommendations of the Financial Action Organization for Cooperation and Development (FATF) under the "horizontal view" and "special monitoring regime," reports on a joint evaluation of several MONEYVAL Member States were discussed at the meeting.

Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Ivo Josipovic attend Azerbaijan-Croatia business forum

An Azerbaijan-Croatia business forum was held in Baku with participation of Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Ivo Josipovic on March 12.

The two presidents made speeches at the event.

March 13 Importance of credit registry increases in Azerbaijan

Today more than 1.2 million borrowers are registered in the Central Credit Register (CCR), Head of CCR Service under the Central Bank Elchin Habibov said during a workshop "Automated tools, scoring and optimization of financing through a credit bureau".

The workshop was organized under a project of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to strengthen the financial infrastructure in Central Asia and Azerbaijan (ACAFI - Azerbaijan-Central Asia Financial Markets Infrastructure).

"Within a year for every 7 out of 10 signed loan agreements credit decisions after receiving information from the registry were taken. Today the credit registry is a significant tool for making lending decisions in banks," Habibov said.

Central Bank of Azerbaijan ready to expand access to credit information

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) supports participation in the exchange of credit information of all credit organizations issuing time and interest loans, Head of Service of centralized credit register (CCR) under the Central Bank Elchin Habibov said.

"Now we are working to prepare an appropriate legal framework. In the future, we see the participation of leasing companies, telecommunication companies, utility companies in the process. Today, however, it is not known which structure will be responsible for this: credit register or credit bureau," Habibov noted.

He said all the banks operating in Azerbaijan send information about loans to the Central Credit Register on a monthly basis.

"Of the 27 non-bank credit organizations operating in Azerbaijan, 20 are connected to the CCR, the remaining seven organizations are working to improve the technical capacity and preparation of the software needed to connect to the registry," the CCR Service head said.

President Ilham Aliyev lays foundation stone for water and sewerage system in Masalli

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a groundbreaking ceremony of water and sewerage system in Masalli. The city's water and sewerage system will rebuilt as part of the Second National Water Supply and Sanitation Project.

President Ilham Aliyev was informed that the project will see the construction of a 5000 cubic meter water reservoir and a water purification center, which will ensure water supply to Masalli and Jalilabad regions.

The drinking water network will include a water reservoir, main water pipeline and distribution pipes.

In addition to Masalli, projects to revamp water and sewerage system are carried out in Siyazan, Shabran, Agsu, Ismayilli, Jalilabad, Yardimli and Lerik regions.

President Ilham Aliyev placed a capsule into the foundation and filled it with concrete to mark the beginning of the construction work.

Azerbaijani President inaugurates Kijaba-Ojakaran and Kijaba-Gachimarda road in Astara region

President Ilham Aliyev inaugurated Kijaba-Ojakaran and Kijaba-Gachimarda road in Astara region.

The Head of State cut the ribbon symbolizing the official opening of the road.

The 10 km part of the Kijaba-Ojakaran and Kijaba-Gachimarda road was overhauled. About 12 thousand residents from Kijaba settlement and 9 villages use this road. The Flag Square was built at the entry of the settlement and the state flag hoisted at the height of 25 meters.

The park was also laid out in the area.

In accordance with executive order of President Ilham Aliyev, reconstruction of the Lovayin reservoir with a capacity of 6.3 million cubic meters and at a depth of 17 meters is underway.

President Ilham Aliyev met with the residents.

Azerbaijani President opens cold-storage warehouse and greenhouse complexes in Masalli

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has inaugurated "Masera" LLC's cold-storage warehouse and greenhouse complexes as part of his visit to Masalli.

The Head of State was informed that the capacity of the cold-storage warehouse complex was 1,200 tons, while the greenhouse's annual capacity was 700 tons.

The complexes were constructed under the State Program on socio-economic development of the regions. The project cost AZN 5 million, including an AZN 1 million loan granted by the National Entrepreneurship Support Fund.

The project created 60 jobs.

The complex will produce vegetables for export.

March 14 Azerbaijan, Turkey discuss development of international road transportation

One of the main issues being discussed today in Baku within the next meeting of Azerbaijani-Turkish commission is exchange of statistic data between Azerbaijan and Turkey in international transportation, a source at the Azerbaijani Transport Ministry said.

A next meeting of the Azerbaijani-Turkish Commission is underway in Baku on March 15-16 under the terms of an agreement on international road transportation between the governments of Turkey and Azerbaijani.

"The state of international road transportation between Azerbaijan and Turkey, exchange of statistic data and prospects for development of transportation, particularly freight and passenger transportation, and other issues are being discussed at the meeting," the source said.

Azerbaijan and Turkey have close economic relations, particularly in the sphere of energy and transport.

Share of renewable energy in Azerbaijan to triple by 2020

By 2020, the share of alternative energy sources of total consumption in Azerbaijan will increase to 9.7 per cent compared to the current 2.3 per cent, head of the Azerbaijani State Agency on alternative and renewable energy under the Energy and Industry Ministry of Azerbaijan, Jamil Melikov said.

"An increase in the share of renewable energy in total consumption is planned at by establishing new power generation capacities in general running at 2500 megawatts by 2020," Melikov said.

March 15 U.S. satisfied with relations with Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani Industry and Energy Minister Natig Aliyev and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman have discussed global energy security and oil and gas projects in Kuwait, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Kuwait said.

The meeting was held within the Third International Energy Forum and Fifth International Energy and Business Forum in Kuwait City.

Azerbaijan restores gas supply to Russia

SOCAR has restored the gas supply to Russia.

All the technical work was completed to regulate pressure in the network. This allowed restoring gas export from Azerbaijan to Russia.

"Gas exports to Russia were restored at night," SOCAR said. "At present, there are no problems with gas supply."

WB holds consultations on implementation of Azerbaijan Rural Investment II project

The World Bank (WB) held in Baku consultations to prepare for implementation of a second project "Azerbaijan rural investment" (AzRIP).

Consultations were held with the participation of head of the working group for the project from the WB, senior social development specialist at the Department of Sustainable Development of Europe and Central Asia, Daniel Owen, AzRIP Director Subhan Asgerov, deputy director of the project Gulbeniz Gambarova, as well as a number of NGO representatives, cooperating with the project.

During the discussions the sides exchanged experience on the first AzRIP project, which ends in late March.

Following the discussions a report will be made on the basis of which conclusions will be drawn on the eve of the start of the second project AzRIP, what is planned this year, said Owen.

March 16 Azerbaijani President attends opening of several facilities of Bakielektrikshebeke OJSC

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of Ganjlik substation, Training Center and Icherisheher substation of Bakielektrikshebeke OJSC.

Chairman of the Board of directors of Bakielektrikshebeke OJSC Baba Rzayev briefed the President on a newly-constructed Ganjlik substation. He emphasized that circular supply scheme started to be applied in Bakielektrikshebeke. Ganjlik substation is the composition of 110 kW - Baku 2nd circular power scheme, which is located between Sangachal-Khirdalan system substations. Ganjlik substation is important for distributor network.

President Ilham Aliyev was told that the training centre was supplied with high technology. Management of power network will be realized via automated system.

Azerbaijani parliament approves governmental report for 2011

The Azerbaijani Parliament has approved the Azerbaijani government's report on the activity in 2011.

The government's report was presented to the parliament by Prime Minister Artur Rasizade.

Rasizade said that the Azerbaijani government's goals were achieved in 2011.

"Maintaining the macroeconomic stability, accelerated development of non-oil sector, food and energy security, strengthening the military potential of the country and the defense complex, constant improving level of human capital are the government's main objectives for 2011 set by President Aliyev," Rasizade said.

State ICT Development Fund established in Azerbaijan Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed an Executive Order setting up the State Fund for Development of Information and Communication technologies.
The Fund, to be established under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies, aims to support the production in the ICT sector and encourage the involvement of foreign and local investment to the industry.

ECAC confirmed illegality of airport construction

Talks in Baku between the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and the State Civil Aviation Administration of Azerbaijan have discussed the illegal construction of an airport in Khojaly, Azerbaijan Airlines spokesman Maharram Safarli said.

During the meeting, the ECAC has once again underlined the commitment to the principles of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) and relevant UN resolutions, as well as the fight against attempts to harm the safety of flights in the region.

The talks were held within ECAC President Catalin Radu and executive secretary of the organization Salvatore Shikitano's visit to Baku, who were in Azerbaijan from March 13 to 16.

The visit took place within the 10th anniversary of Azerbaijan's membership in the ECAC.
The meetings also discussed flight safety issues in Azerbaijan and maintaining the highest international standards of aviation safety.

During the visit to Azerbaijan, ECAC representatives got familiar with the process of training at the National Aviation Academy and activities of civil aviation facilities located at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport. Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov also received the ECAC delegation.

March 17 Azerbaijan studies Lithuania's experience in free economic zones

A delegation of Azerbaijani businessmen visited Kaunas, Lithuania to familiarize with the activity of free economic zones, the Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry said.

The delegation includes the representatives of Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation "AZPROMO" and business circles.

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Kazakhstan unveils value of payments of compulsory vehicle insurance
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