At the conference dedicated to results of the second year of the implementation of the “State Program on socio-economic development of the districts of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2014-2018”, Mr. President deeply re-analyzed the current situation concerning issues of the development of districts as well as tasks ahead, outlining new challenges, said Hasanov.
He noted that swift actions are due to be taken in the short run to prevent possible decline in the non-oil sector and production, to halt the dollarization process and rebuild the people’s confidence in national currency by balancing the financial market, to improve the material provision of citizens and to prevent artificial price hike.
With reliance upon the existing base and including international experience and the coverage of all aspects of social life, the strategy to be implemented in the long term is intended to push Azerbaijan to a new state of development, the presidential aide said.
“First of all, I would like to mention the actions carried out under the Azerbaijani president’s instructions on stabilizing the post-devaluation situation. The president’s first instructions had to do with elimination of negative factors affecting the social situation of citizens. Concerned state agencies took drastic measures against fraud attempts to gain extra funds through abuse. As a result, local products saw no increase in prices. Moreover, under the instructions of Mr. President, 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, which led to reduction in bread prices. The cheapest bread across the region is sold in Azerbaijan”, Hasanov added.
He recalled that the Azerbaijani president has recently signed a number of orders to increase wages of workers of state-funded institutions, pensions, benefits and scholarships. “In the current situation, this step demonstrated that the social welfare of the people is the most important issue for the Azerbaijani president. I should note that such a case hasn’t been observed in any energy exporting country which is experienced some difficulties.”
Hasanov mentioned that regulatory mechanisms were involved in the financial sector and relevant measures were taken to prevent all-out “dollarization”.
“First and foremost, control over activities of private banks was tightened and the chaotic situation in exchange points was eliminated. In the next stage, the process of closing exchange offices, transferring currency operations to the powers of banks’ branches and increasing the number of latter began. On other hand, the foreign exchange deficit was eliminated with the help of the Central Bank and the State Oil Fund,” he said.
He also added that the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol beverages and tobacco products for cash in turn revitalized local production and an important segment of the trading system.
The presidential aide also noted that structural reforms began to be implemented in order to improve the state management system.
“The State Flag Square Complex Department was abolished and merged with the Seaside Boulevard Department. The State Procurement Agency was liquidated and its powers and functions were transferred to the State Service for Antimonopoly Policy and Consumer Rights' Protection under the Ministry of Economy of Azerbaijan. This process will continue. Overlapping bodies will be liquidated. As noted Mr. President, the goal is the creation of a more functional and flexible management mechanism,” he said.
Hasanov stressed that all these measures were taken after the meeting of the Cabinet of Minister held on Jan. 10, so excitement, anxiety, psychological stress of the people, observed in the first days of devaluation, were completely eliminated. “The citizens’ trust and confidence in President Ilham Aliyev increased. Everyone sees and understands that Azerbaijan is a strong state, which is managed properly. The state will never allow the citizens to face serious cataclysms.”
The presidential aide said the analysis of the issues mentioned in the president's speeches gives grounds to say that Azerbaijan should be ready for any changes in the world economic and political system, global challenges. “It can be achieved through deep reforms and effective transformation of society. We can say that this transformation - implementation of a new economic policy has been already initiated in specific fields,” he completed.