Azerbaijani president chairs meeting on economic and social issues

Azerbaijani president chairs meeting on economic and social issues
# 18 January 2016 11:46 (UTC +04:00)

President Ilham Aliyev said that as a result of the sharp decline in oil prices in 2015, oil-exporting countries have encountered difficulties and this process is still ongoing.

Over the past year, oil prices have fallen four times, resulting in a decrease in the country’s revenues, President Aliyev said, noting that the government is taking necessary steps to overcome this situation and Azerbaijan has suffered the minimum loss compared to other oil-producing countries.

The president noted that Azerbaijan can easily cope with the difficulties if the instructions given at the last meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers are completed.

He stressed the importance of deepening reforms in the country, adding that proposals made in this regard are already being implemented.

The head of state outlined that people’s social protection will be in the spotlight and that the work done in the country in recent years were aimed at bettering people’s welfare. In this regard, he mentioned the recent increase in pension and wages by 10 percent is a crucial step forward.

With regard to artificial price hike, President Aliyev stressed the importance of a serious struggle in this regard.

Regarding the measures that led to a significant reduction in the cost of flour and bread, the president noted that this is a social initiative.

According to the president, certain steps have already been taken towards structural reforms and such actions have to be continuous. Unnecessary and repetitive state bodies should be either merged or liquidated, he said.

Relevant instructions have been given for the regulation of foreign exchange market, said President Aliyev. “A legislative base has to be prepared in this area and this issue will be considered at the parliament’s extraordinary session,” he added.

Furthermore, the president gave instructions on developing an extended privatization program with the participation of international experts, involving local and foreign investors in this work and improving the business environment in order to achieve economic revival.

The process of dollarization taking place in Azerbaijan has no economic value, said the president. “The stabilization of manat’s rate does not depend only on the government,” he noted.

“Proposals for regulation of the banking sector are being considered. It’s important to take measures for the improvement of troubled banks, issuance of government bonds and deposit insurance. Such measures will increase the confidence in the national currency,” added Aliyev.

Given the low level of external debt of the country and the current situation, enough financial resources can be involved to the domestic market from foreign financial market, the head of state underlined.

Aliyev said the development of the non-oil sector is a priority, noting that the National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support will issue 250 million of soft loans, as a result of which, investment in the country’s region will hit AZN 1 billion.