Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (Feb. 5-9)

Analysis Materials 12 February 2018 15:59 (UTC +04:00)

Pensions in Azerbaijan to grow

Labor pensions will grow 5.7 percent as a result of indexation of their insurance part in Azerbaijan, Salim Muslumov, the country's minister of labor and social protection of population, said at a press conference on Feb. 10.

He noted that the average monthly pension in Azerbaijan will be 220.23 manats.

"Two days ago we received data from Azerbaijan's State Statistics Committee on the growth rate of the average monthly wage in 2017," Muslumov said. "These are preliminary stats, because the full reports will be ready in a month. Today, the average monthly labor pension is 233.68 manats. As the result of the indexation, the average monthly labor pension will be 247 manats. The average monthly disability pension will increase from 175 manats to 185 manats, and the average monthly survivor's pensions will grow from 164 manats to 173.3 manats."

"In general, the average monthly pension in Azerbaijan as of Jan. 1, 2018 was 208.36 manats, and as the result of indexation, it will grow to 220.23 manats," he said.

The minister added that the payment of pensions with increment starts in February, but pensioners will get increment for January pensions as well.

The minister noted that as of Jan. 1, 2018, 1.318 million pensioners were registered in Azerbaijan, and the indexation of pensions will affect 94 percent of them.

Muslumov said that 13.78 million manats will be allocated monthly for the indexation of pensions.

"A total of 165.4 million manats will be allocated for the indexation of pensions in 2018," he noted. "These funds are reflected in the approved budget of Azerbaijan's State Social Protection Fund for 2018."

He also noted that the amount of pensions may change.

"As I said earlier, the data provided by the State Statistics Committee is preliminary," the minister said. "If the final data differs from the current ones, pensions will be recalculated."

On Feb. 9, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on indexation of the insurance part of labor pensions.

In accordance with the order, Azerbaijan's Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population has been instructed to ensure increase in the insurance part of labor pensions of all kinds in line with the consumer price index in 2017.

The ministry has also been instructed to implement indexation of the pension capital accumulated in the insurance part of individual accounts in the personal accounting system.

Azerbaijani railways to be brought to European level in near future

The Azerbaijani railways will be brought to the European level in the next five to seven years, said Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Javid Gurbanov at a press conference in Baku Feb. 9.

Two new railway depots will soon be built in Azerbaijan, he said.

"The depots will be built using the latest technologies in Baku and Ganja. Meanwhile, the reconstruction of the depot located in the Boyukshor village will also be carried out," said Gurbanov.

Azerbaijan Railways CJSC ordered four new additional electric trains Stadler, noted the chairman.

"Two trains will be delivered this year, two more in the next year. Besides, the Baku-Yalama and Baku-Boyuk Kasik railways will be repaired, as a result of which the average speeds of passenger trains will be 120 kilometers per hour, and the speed of freight trains - from 60-80 kilometers per hour," he said.

"A high-speed train will also be launched from Baku to Astara. The travel time-frame on this section will be 4-5 hour," added Gurbanov.

Adoption of law on cryptocurrencies in Azerbaijan may take long time

The bill "On the regulation of trade in cryptocurrencies", which is being developed, has raised a number of issues, a source in the Azerbaijani financial market told Trend Feb. 8.

According to the source, the bill itself has been drafted very competently and qualitatively and the topic for discussion is its future application.

The main controversy is being conducted around two issues.

"One of these questions is for whom the market is intended for speculators or investors," the source said. "Then there is such an issue as currency regulation because liberalization of these instruments and their quoting on the market may lead to currency outflow and affect foreign exchange reserves."

According to the source, there are also a number of issues related to technologies and general financial literacy of the population.

"Some cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology," the source said. "There is such a question whether the market participants will carry out transactions through the blockchain technology. In this case, will we regulate such an issue as cryptographic standards or will it remain at the discretion of the market participants themselves? There is also the fourth block of questions related to awareness of the population, as well as existing and future regulators."

The source said that taking into account those issues, the process of adopting and implementing the law will take a long time.

"The lack of the necessary experience, as well as the prototype, may come to the fore, so the process may take a long time," the source said. "Most of the abovementioned issues are related to the regulator, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan. I think that the working group will have to draw up a protocol. The issues that require clarification from the relevant structures will be indicated there."