Last week review (Jan. 11-15)

Jan. 11

President Aliyev attends opening of large-size transformer plant, lays foundation stone for new enterprise

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of a large-size transformer plant of ATEF Group of Companies and laid a foundation stone for a high-voltage equipment plant in Surakhani district.

Foreign-exchange offices to be closed in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani banks closed their exchange offices and branches. Exchange offices received the directions from the banks' management. Previously Central Bank of Azerbaijan reported that it would take a decision until March or April 2016 to shut down currency exchange offices operating outside banks and their branches. Central Bank also limited the currency exchange rate corridor within four percent of the official rate [-4 percent on purchase, +4 percent on sale] in an instruction sent to the banks.

Jan. 12

North-South corridor to reduce cargo delivery almost threefold

The implementation of the North-South railway corridor project will reduce the cargo delivery period via various important routes twofold-threefold, Javid Gurbanov, the head of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC, said at the "North-South international transport corridor: new directions, development and prospects" forum. The corridor will allow turning Azerbaijan into a major transport hub, using its geographical position, increasing the turnover, said Gurbanov.

Azerbaijan suspends ban on alcohol sale for cash

Azerbaijan temporarily suspended the ban for sale of alcohol beverages for cash money, as well as wholesale of tobacco products, deputy tax minister of Azerbaijan, Sahib Alakbarov said.

"As for the issue of purchase of alcoholic beverages using non-cash payment, there were no problems in this process, there were only issues related to documentation," he said. "Therefore, as such process takes some time, we received appeals with a request to temporarily suspend this law until the documentation process is finalized."

Alakbarov said that President Ilham Aliyev, having considered the appeals, instructed to suspend these rules [on introduction of non-cash payment during purchase of alcoholic beverages in the country's trading network] until completion of the documentation as part of measures taken to support the development of entrepreneurship.

Jan. 13

Azerbaijani president receives Senior Director for European Affairs at US National Security Council

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Senior Director for European Affairs at the US National Security Council Charles Kupchan.

The sides discussed the development of the Azerbaijani-US bilateral ties in a variety of fields. They stressed the importance of expanding energy cooperation, which has a rich history, with the support of the US.

SOCAR to help Georgia to build underground gas storage facility

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) in a meeting with the government of Georgia mainly discussed the technical issues of gas supplies, Mahir Mammadov, the head of SOCAR Energy Georgia, said.

Mammadov noted that the sides also discussed the construction of underground gas storage facility in Georgia.

Jan. 14

Azerbaijan agrees with 3 countries on preferential cargo traffic tariffs

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Ukraine signed a protocol on setting competitive preferential tariffs for cargo transportation via the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route. The protocol was signed by Javid Gurbanov, head of Azerbaijani Railways CJSC, Askar Mamin, head of Kazakhstan Railways JSC, Mamuka Bakhtadze, head of Georgian Railway JSC and Oleksandr Zavgorodniy, acting chairman of board of Ukrainian Railways JSC.

The document envisages setting the competitive preferential tariffs for cargo transportation via the Trans-Caspian route, carrying out comprehensive measures to facilitate the movement of trains via the route, and increasing cargo turnover. A similar bilateral protocol was also signed separately by Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Flour, bread to be exempt from VAT in Azerbaijan

Import and sale of wheat, as well as production and sale of flour and bread in Azerbaijan will be exempt from the value added tax from January 15 in accordance with an instruction of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, said the ministry of economy and industry.

As a result, the wholesale prices greatly reduced. Depending on the transportation expenditure, the wholesale price of one bag of flour (50 kg) varies from 21.5 to 22.5 manats, and retail price from 23 to 24 manats. Bread weighing 500 grams will be sold at 0.30 manats, and 700 grams at 0.40 manats in accordance with the flour price.

Serious measures will be taken with regard to the individuals who will sell flour and bread at higher prices.

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