Last week review (Dec.24-28)

December 24

UN General Assembly adopts resolution on TASIM project initiated by Azerbaijan

The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution on 'Expanding internet access by creating Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway' (TASIM) upon Azerbaijan's initiative, the report of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said on Monday. The document was adopted unanimously on December 21. The resolution takes into account Azerbaijan's proposal to establish Eurasian telecommunications alliance to improve the relations of the state, private sector and civil society with international development institutions, with the main purpose of contributing to the development of telecommunications transmission in the regions.

Rules for publication of investment securities issuers' annual reports approved in Azerbaijan

A decision of Azerbaijani State Committee for Securities (SCS) approved rules for the preparation and publication of annual reports on the activities of issuers of investment securities.The rules were included in the State register of legal acts of the Azerbaijani Republic.The updated regulations define the financial reporting process, depending on the specifics of the issuers, including the publication of information about shareholders included in the annual reports of issuers, depending on the method of securities placement.Earlier, the State Securities Committee approved rules concerning the emission of investment securities. They regulate the emission of corporate bonds by entities, the emission of additional shares during increases of the authorized capital of joint stock companies, the emission of shares while increasing or reducing their nominal value, the issuance of investment securities during reorganization of commercial organizations, as well as defining procedures for assigning state registration numbers to investment security emissions.

Over 400 military personnel provided with housing through state funds in Azerbaijan

The regular meeting of the Commission set by presidential decree "On measures to strengthen social protection of servicemen of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan" dated December 28, 2011 has been held, the Ministry of Finance reported on Monday.Describing the situation on the tasks assigned to the Commission by order of the head of state, Finance Minister Samir Sharifov said, the housing through state funds of the military personnel serving in the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan more than 20 years has begun.

December 25 Two banks combine ATM network in Azerbaijan for first time

Azerbaijani Pasha Bank and Xalqbank combine their ATM networks, Xalqbank said on Tuesday.

According to the agreement signed between banks, customers having payroll cards of these banks will be able to use ATMs of Xalq Bank and Pasha Bank without a cashing fee. The unified network will include 25 ATMs in the capital and 18 in the regions of the country.Extending the banks' service infrastructure by combining ATMs is another step to serve the card holders.Moreover, the transaction of uniting two banks' ATMs in a single network has been held in Azerbaijan for the first time.

Procedure of obtaining stars by hotels complicated in Azerbaijan

A procedure of obtaining the "stars" by the hotel and hotel-type facilities has been complicated in Azerbaijan, head of research, statistics and licensing department under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Rahman Orujlu informed.He said that earlier, while assessing the category of hotels and hotel-type facilities, 150 criteria were taken into account. But at present, the number of criteria has been increased to 300 in the state standard.According to the old standards, the appropriate equipment was required. But according to the new standard, the adequacy of the equipment is taken into account, he said.He added that the minimum requirements for a particular star category were not determined in old standards. However, the new standards reflect the minimum requirements for corresponding to this or that star category. The new standards also reflect some provisions of the international standard for quality management.The hotels obtain stars every three years, Orujlu said.As of the first half of 2012, there are 355 legal and physical entities operating in the hotel sector in Azerbaijan. They obtained special licenses from the Culture and Tourism Ministry. The number of facilities which passed state classification reached 70.

ASAN-Xidmet launches Microsoft Volume Licensing program

The State Agency for Public Services and Social Innovations under the Azerbaijani President (ASAN xidmet) has launched the Microsoft Volume Licensing program providing software for workstations, head of Microsoft mission in Azerbaijan Rufat Gadzhialibekov said at a press conference on Tuesday. The work is carried out in accordance with the volume licensing program Microsoft Enterprise Agreement," Gadzhialibekov said.

December 26 Azerbaijan airline once again enters corporate bond market

The Azerbaijani State Securities Committee has registered the issue prospectus of interest-bearing book-entry unsecured bonds of "Silk Way" airline with a total amount of 20 million manat, the committee said today.Around 2,000 bonds with a nominal value of each - 10,000 manat were issued within the emission.Last year the company registered two emissions of unsecured bonds in February to the amount of 2.3 million manat and - 7.7 million manat in December.Silk Way Airlines is the Azerbaijani cargo airline, headquartered in Baku. The airline was established in 2001. It made its first flight on October 6, 2001. Silk Way Airlines offers scheduled and charter flights to more than 50 destinations around the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq and West Kazakhstan.

Sixth issue of collateralized mortgage obligations registered in Azerbaijan

The State Securities Committee (SSC) has registered the sixth issue of collateralized mortgage obligations of the Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund (AMF), operating under the Central Bank, in the amount of 40 million manat, SSC reported on Tuesday. This will be the sixth issue of mortgage obligations in the country.Within the issue 40,000 bonds with par value of 1,000 manat are issued. Emissions will be implemented through a public offering.The first issue of interest-bearing uncertificated registered covered bonds of the AMF was registered in June 2009. Within the issue 55,000 bonds with a nominal value of AZN 1,000 each for a return of three percent per annum were registered. The maturity date is determined on December 11, 2019. Placement of this issue was completed in January 2010.

Azerbaijan improves methods of forecasting economic development

Improving the methods of forecasting economic development is required for the further successful development of the economy in Azerbaijan and the use of General Equilibrium Model (AZMOD) is an important step in this direction, Deputy Economic Development Minister Sevinj Hasanova said at the presentation on 'General Equilibrium Model of Azerbaijan: conducted work, results and prospects'."Azerbaijan pursues an investment policy developing various sectors of the economy and this is why modelling and forecasting plays an important role for future development," Hasanova said.

E-service application for licensure in the ICT field integrated into "e-government" portal

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan added e-applications for various licensures into its "e-government" portal (ehdis.az), a report published by the portal said on Wednesday. Currently, the ministry offers 25 e-services. Also, services provided by the State Committee for Family, Women and Child Affairs are also integrated in the portal. Currently, an online application for international adoption is also available."E-government" contains 36 state agencies and integrates over 168 online services.A number of state institutions also appealed to the agency in hopes of joining the portal; this process will be carried out in stages depending on the readiness of their individual IT-infrastructures.The "e-government" portal is a key tool in supporting interaction with citizens as well as with the public and private sectors.

Sweden ready to invest in Azeri ICT sector

Leading Swedish IT-companies are interested in investing in the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector of Azerbaijan, Swedish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mikael Eriksson said at a meeting with Azerbaijani Communications and IT Minister Ali Abbasov in Baku.He said this will benefit efforts to create an industrial park in the country as well as the establishment of the Fund for ICT Development Support.Eriksson also made an initiative to hold the first Azerbaijani-Swedish ICT Business Forum in conjunction with the 19th International Telecommunications Exhibition "Bakutel"-2013 in the coming year. In his turn, Minister Abbasov stressed the importance of the further development of cooperation in ICT, stressing the openness of the Azerbaijani market for Swedish investors.

Minister: Azerbaijan expands cooperation with European Institutions

Azerbaijan is interested in further expanding the cooperation with European institutions, chairman of the Working Group and Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev said today at the fourth meeting of the working group on economic issues under the State Commission on Azerbaijan's integration into Europe, the ministry said today. Minister added that the plan of the working group's activity, signed by Azerbaijan and the European Union in 2006, covers 134 economic measures - such as support for sustainable economic growth, improvement of economic legislation and management, economic diversification, improvement of the investment and business sphere. "The timely and systematic implementation of these measures allowed Azerbaijan to expand its economic ties, increase the potential of foreign trade and opportunities of entering the European market," Mustafayev said. Head of the International Relations Department under the Ministry Sahil Babayev made a presentation about the work carried out within an action plan to bring the Azerbaijani legislation in line with European Union legislation.

SOFAZ acquires property in center of Moscow

State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) purchased 100 % of "Tverskaya,16" company, the owner of Gallery Actor, mixed-use office and retail complex located on Pushkin Square, SOFAZ informed Trend. The transaction is valued at $133 million. The seller was Metropolitan Insurance Group, part of VTB Group. Jones Lang LaSalle (as broker) and ALRUD (as legal consultant) were the advisors to SOFAZ on this deal.

December 27

CBA to move to more effective monetary policy system to control inflation

As mentioned in the statement of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) on the main directions of monetary and financial stability for 2013 published on Thursday, maintaining the inflation rate at five to six per cent is the main objective of monetary policy in Azerbaijan in 2013. 'The Central Bank will try to influence the rate of monetary growth through classic regulatory tools. Alongside, provision of the necessary macroeconomic, institutional and structural conditions for the introduction of new and more effective in terms of influence on inflation and business cycle and monetary policy regime will be our focus', the statement says. Introduction of a flexible exchange rate regime providing a more effective monetary control over money supply and interest rates will be particularly important among these conditions. According to the statement, transforming economic and export diversification, strengthening of fiscal sustainability and development of financial markets and interest rates into the main tool of influence over inflation is important for transition into this system.

Creation of chemical technology park's infrastructure launched in Sumgayit

Work on infrastructure organization was launched within the creation of a new chemical technology park, the deputy head of the park, Zaur Mammadov told journalists on Thursday.
He said that all infrastructure necessary for the park's operation will be provided by Azerbaijan and all necessary conditions will be created for the free operation of foreign investors.

December 28

Azerbaijan extends the moratorium on tax exemption on deposit dividends

Household interest income in Azerbaijani banks and non-bank credit organisations (NBCI) will be exempt from income tax till 2014. The draft law extending the moratorium on the imposition of income tax on individual deposits in banks and non-bank credit organisations for another year was adopted at the plenary session of the Milli Majlis on Friday. The law comes into effect from January 2013.

For the first time, tax relief for deposit interest paid to people by public banks and other lending institutions was introduced in 1999. Since 2010, the moratorium has been extended for three years. As mentioned by the head of the parliamentary committee on economic policy Ziyad Samadzade, the loss of the state budget on application of these exemptions amount approximately 60-70 million manat, but the decision is intended to support the banking system.

It is estimated that these tax incentives have increased the contributions by approximately 500 million manat. The Azerbaijani Central Bank believes that public confidence in the country's banking sector was strengthened, as evidenced by the growth of their savings by 15.6 per cent to 4.8 billion manat. The amount of deposits with a maturity of over one year increased by 17.4 per cent. Contributions in local currency (23 per cent growth) have considerably exceeded the growth rate in foreign currency (6.5 per cent), while deposits in the regions of the country increased by 16 per cent.

December 29

Azerbaijan strengthens control over transactions on securities market

The Azerbaijani State Securities Committee has approved the rules of preventing abuses on the securities market, which are included in the state register of legal acts of the country, the State Committee said on Saturday. The rules have been prepared in accordance with international best practice and will create an opportunity to prevent abuse on the securities market, increase transparency, including effective control of transactions on the stock market.

Azerbaijani President participates in opening of "ASAN" State Agency's service center

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev opened the service center #1 of "ASAN" State Agency for Public Services and Social Innovations on Saturday.

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SOFAZ discloses revenues from Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli
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