Last week review (March 26-30)

President Aliyev: 2018 to become year of development for Azerbaijan

Last year was a year of stabilization for Azerbaijan in the economic sphere and 2018 is a year of development, said Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.

He made the remarks addressing a republican conference on development of cotton-growing in Barda District on March 26.

"As during the last year, this year all relevant structures, central and local executive authorities, vendor companies, farmers and workpeople should act as one team. The problems existing during the season, that's to say, the problems that will emerge, should be resolved immediately. And we should complete this year with maximum profit," said the head of state.

"I mentioned the figures related to labor resources. Around 200,000 people were involved in these works. Local executive authorities should work and provide information with the purpose of identifying labor resources in regions and attracting them to these works. That's to say, cotton-growing is a very favorable sphere for earning money every day. It is necessary to ensure serious analysis of our labor resources in regions, because, as a result of growing economic activity in Azerbaijan, tens of thousands of new jobs have been created, including in the private sector, as currently, the state renders great support to the private sector," said President Aliyev.

The head of state pointed out that 2017 was a year of stabilization in the economic sphere and 2018 is a year of development.

"Economic indicators of this year are encouraging. Over the two months, the non-oil industry has grown by more than 8 percent, while non-oil sector and agriculture have increased by 2.3 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively. Plant growing has increased by over 40 percent. Therefore, economic activity paves way for creating jobs in the private sector," said the president.

The head of state went on to add that at the same time, very active work is underway in cotton-growing and other spheres of agriculture.

"New jobs are created there as well. It is already several years that citizens are also involved in social works organized by the state at my initiative. As I was informed yesterday, hundreds of people have been involved in social works in Barda city alone. Almost the same situation can be seen in other cities. Therefore, we should know about our labor resources. Both central and local executive authorities should analyze this. We should build our future economic development, including our plans regarding planting areas, in general, our plans related to economic sphere and industry, on the proper analysis of our labor resources," said President Aliyev.

Further, the head of state noted that demographic dynamics in Azerbaijan is very positive, the population is growing and will reach the level of ten million in the near future.

"This is our great privilege and we should use our labor resources effectively. It is necessary to pay serious attention to this sphere in this season. In one word, I am confident that positive and negative sides of the last year's results will be seriously analyzed this year. We will achieve even better results this year. Productivity, cotton supply will grow, and cotton-growing will continue to develop rapidly," added President Aliyev.

Ilham Aliyev: Fertilizer plant to start operating in Sumgayit in 2018

A plant on production of fertilizers will start operating in Sumgayit city in 2018, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said.

He made the remarks addressing a republican conference on development of cotton-growing in Barda District on March 26.

President Aliyev stressed the improvement of fertilizer supply in Azerbaijan.

"It can be noted that the Azerbaijani state undertook this field as well - fertilizers are provided with 70-percent benefits. Despite the success achieved in this field, we must work even harder. The quality of fertilizers should be even better, and much attention is also attached to this area," the president said.

"We will provide ourselves with fertilizers. The production of irrigation equipment has already been established in Azerbaijan. Thanks to the use of this equipment, we can increase the productivity," the head of state noted.

"A light industry park was established in Mingachevir. I spoke about it at previous conferences. All necessary instructions were given. Two new enterprises of the Light Industry Park started operating in Mingachevir in February 2018. More than 700 people work at these enterprises, and 20,000 tons of yarn will be produced. This is almost half of the yarn produced in the previous period. If cotton-growing did not develop rapidly in Azerbaijan, then there would be no need for these enterprises either, because these plants can work successfully only on the basis of local raw materials," President Aliyev emphasized.

Cryptocurrency mining farm created in Azerbaijan

Sumgait Technologies Data Center LLC (STDC) has created its own full-fledged cryptocurrency mining farm, a source in the country's IT market told Trend.

The source said that the STDC data processing center based on blockchain technology has been created at the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park.

"There are a number of enterprises in the country that have their own full-fledged mining farms. One of such structures is STDC, where a relevant DATA-center based on blockchain technology was created with the support of Azerenergy OJSC," the source noted.

Mining, according to the source, is not unusual, and it can be compared with the activities of a regular Internet club, except that the principle of its activities is technologically different.

"The vast majority of local miners do not cash the cryptocurrency, relying on the fact that it will rise in price. Others keep cryptocurrencies in their wallets for trading on exchanges, or they change them to another coin in order to keep a stable exchange rate," the source added.

Cybernet to develop software for State Registry of Collateral over Movable Property

The leading IT solutions provider in Azerbaijan, Cybernet won tender announced by Azerbaijan's Financial Market Supervisory Authority for development of software for the State Registry of Collateral over Movable Property.

Creation of the State Registry of Collateral over Movable Property in Azerbaijan will help to develop small and medium-sized enterprises in the country and simplify their access to the finances.

The State Registry of Collateral over Movable Property will create the database of the encumbrance of movable property that has not got state registration; enable free access of lending institutions to this information; enable repeated usage of property; limit the rights on its usage and expand the selection of collateral.

The creation of the registry will facilitate the access of business to financial resources and simplify the use of movable objects as the pledge in obtaining a loan.

In the frames of the project representatives of Financial Market Supervisory Authority and Cybernet researched best practices of existing systems of the encumbrance of movable property through experience sharing programs.

Established in 2004 Cybernet is the leading organization, engaged in creating and implementing IT infrastructures for enterprises, providing technical solutions, developing software of any level of complexities, both in the local market and in the countries of Central Asia. The company actively participates in state projects in Azerbaijan. Cybernet also successfully developed an integrated information system for the Republic Center for Health Development in Kazakhstan in 2017.

Azerbaijan's gold producer reveals cost for new exploration program

Anglo Asian Mining PLC (AAM), a producer of gold, copper and silver in Azerbaijan, is pleased to announce that a subsidiary of the Group, Azerbaijan International Mining Company Limited, plans to spend about $6 million for its new geological exploration and evaluation programme for 2018, the company said in a message.

The company said that 2018 to be the first year of a three-year rolling programme of geological exploration of near mine, brownfield and greenfield areas. The aim is replacing mined ounces, extending the current mine life to a 10-year minimum, increasing the company's inventory of resources and discovering new mineral deposits similar to the Ugur open pit mine ("Ugur") which have the potential to be quickly developed into operating mines.

Reportedly, the programme will build on the results of the 2017 geological work and comprehensively cover the Company's three operating contract areas, including Gedabek gold, copper and silver contract area in western Azerbaijan which is the location of the Gedabek and Ugur mines and the Gadir underground mine, Gosha contract area, which is located 50 kilometres from Gedabek; and Ordubad contract area ("Ordubad") which is located in Nakhichivan.

A total of around 43,500 metres of surface and underground drilling is planned within the program.

"I am very pleased to announce this programme of geological exploration of our three operating contract areas," Anglo Asian CEO Reza Vaziri said.

"This will build upon the success of the previous few years during which we discovered the Ugur and Gadir deposits. In addition to demonstrating that our exploration can produce results, we have importantly shown that we can quickly produce value from any new discoveries as exemplified by Ugur, which we brought into production in less than 12 months from discovery."

Anglo Asian Group Director of Geology & Mining Stephen Westhead, in turn, said that the company will carry out an airborne geophysical survey over the entire Gedabek contract area and also investigate the potential of Gosha and Ordubad.

Anglo Asian Mining PLC is a gold, copper and silver producer with a broad portfolio of production and exploration assets in Azerbaijan.

AAM and Swiss Industrial Minerals SA signed an agreement in May 2014 on selling cooper concentrate produced at Gadabay field in Azerbaijan. Based on the production sharing agreement signed with Azerbaijani government in August 1997, Anglo Asian Mining PLC has the right to develop six fields in south-west of Azerbaijan: Gadabay, Ordubad, Gosha Bulag, Gizil Bulag, Vejnali and Soyutlu.

The gold produced at the fields is sent to Switzerland for purification. The ingots are delivered to Azerbaijan and are stored in the government's account.

In 2017, AAM produced 59,617 ounces of gold, 1,991 tons of copper and 172,853 ounces of silver in Azerbaijan. This year the company plans to produce 84,000 ounces in gold equivalent.

Azerbaijani company proposes to apply Turkish experience in competitiveness sector

Azerbaijani company Veyseloglu intends to promote introduction of Turkish experience in the competitiveness sector in Azerbaijan, the company's General Director for Business Development Ilgar Nuri said at a press conference in Baku on March 29.

"Not only state structures, but also business representatives should participate in this process," according to Nuri.

He added that studying foreign experience in this area is important.

"Development of business environment and competition in Azerbaijan is at the center of the state's attention. At the same time, not only state structures, but also entrepreneurs and society should contribute to the development of competition," Nuri said.

The trade and distribution company Veyseloglu has been operating since 1994. It cooperates with 116 factories in more than 20 countries.

Azerbaijan may apply sanctions for non-payment of unemployment insurance benefits

Sanctions are proposed to be imposed for non-payment of compulsory unemployment insurance benefits in Azerbaijan. This is stipulated by the amendments to the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, discussed at a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee for Labor and Social Policy in Baku March 29.

According to the proposed changes, in case of tax evasion, non-payment of unemployment insurance benefits and compulsory social insurance benefits in a big amount (from 20,000 manats to 100,000 manats), a fine amounting from a twofold sum to a fourfold sum of the inflicted damage or up to two years of corrective work or up to three years of imprisonment, with possible deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engaging in certain work, are applied.

If a similar offense is committed by an organized group and in a big amount (from 100,000 manats to 500,000 manats), a fine amounting from a threefold sum to a fivefold sum of the inflicted damage or imprisonment from three to five years, with possible deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engaging in certain work for up to three years, are proposed to be applied.

In case of evasion from payment of taxes, unemployment insurance benefits and compulsory social insurance benefits in a very big amount (over 500,000 manats), it is planned to apply a fine amounting from a fourfold sum to a fivefold sum of the inflicted damage, with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engaging in certain work for a period of up to three years, or imprisonment from five years to seven years.

The changes to the Code of Administrative Offenses, implying the imposition of sanctions for violation of unemployment insurance legislation, were also discussed during the meeting of the parliamentary committee.

So, in case of refusal from insurance of employees, untimely or partial payment of insurance benefits, failure to give necessary information to the insurer about employees and a number of other violations, individuals will be fined in the amount of 100 manats, officials - 200 manats, legal entities - 400 manats.

Moreover, in case of failure to give the necessary information within 10 days to the insurer, the insured may be fined in the amount of the damage inflicted as a result of the administrative offense.

The amendments also imply a fine amounting to 30 percent of the inflicted damage in case of failure to pay unemployment insurance benefits amounting to 20,000 manats.

EU launches new projects in Azerbaijan, Georgia

The European Union has launched six projects within the framework of expanding cross-border cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia, a source in the government told Trend on April 2.

In total, the EU allocated 1.35 million euros to this end. The projects are being implemented within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Support Programme.

"These projects are aimed at strengthening cross-border cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia, improving the living conditions of local communities and solving problems related to development of tourism, environment and youth employment," the source said.

The Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Support Programme is aimed at finding joint solutions to common problems in the border areas. As for Azerbaijan, the program is aimed at expanding cross-border cooperation with Georgia.

Since the launch of the cooperation, the European Union has provided technical assistance and grants for 582 million euros to Azerbaijan.

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