2016 is going to be the year of reform

2016 is going to be the year of reform

28 January 2016, 16:28 1571
As we know, president Ilham Aliyev have lengthy speech at the conference held on 26 January which was dedicated to results of the "State Program on socio-economic development of regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2014-2018 years". 
President first touched on the global and regional processes and stated that Azerbaijan has achieved all of its objectives for the last year while talking about the economic growth tendency of our country in an ongoing global crisis: "Global economic crisis deepened in 2015. And the world economy still cannot recover from crisis. When I was in Davod World Economic Forum recently, I saw it once again that the global economy will remain so for a while. Despite this, a lot of issues have been addressed in Azerbaijan. The objectives we set at the beginning of the last year have been achieved. When we take into account difficult geopolitical situation and global economic crisis, this is of course an accomplishment". 

Azerbaijan is a part of the world so it cannot avoid being affected by global processes. But it is a big accomplishment to neutralize or at least minimize this effects. At the same time, we know that there are serious confrontations in the region. In such a situation, maintaining stability and preserving the ethnic and religious tolerance is important. In the current difficult geopolitical situation, our country's reputation is rising and we maintain the tendency to develop and maintain our stability grows. 

The strengthening one's position in the world depends to a large degree on its internal and economic stability and achievements gained in building a democratic society. President emphasized this in his speech: " Our people coming together for national unity and one goal, sound policy and our achievements confirms this reality. Despite this, the situation is getting harder in surrounding regions and many countries around the world and conflicts are taking place. In this situation, the case of Azerbaijan becomes very important for the world and I can say that, in many places Azerbaijani model of tolerance is studied".

Important steps were taken in the direction of democratic development last year. Azerbaijan confidently moves forward on the path of democracy. It is our conscious decision. I am confident that comprehensive economic reforms and economic development can not be separate from democratic process. That's why political and economic reforms are and will be carried out in parallel manner. The parliament elections last year confirmed once again how we are 
devoted to democracy. According to all observers, parliamentary elections were transparent and fair. It reflected the will and aspirations of Azerbaijani people. The results of elections are a big boost to the policies we have been advocating for in the last few years". 

As we can see, the policy of inviolability of economic and political reforms continues. And this lets us feel the public reaction to the reforms. That is, the larger public becomes an active participant in the process by using freedom of press and speech. And most important of all, Azerbaijani government reacts quickly to the messages public sends. This lets us that a good example of an establishment of people-state tandem. 

Observations and analysis show that, Azerbaijani economy grew last year despite the difficulties in the world economy, which inevitably affected our country too. While noting that GDP did not increase by a large margin compared to previous years, president also stated that it was a good result for the current economic climate: "Compared to previous years, the GDP did not grow by big numbers, it grow by 1.1%. But considering that the oil prices fell four times, it is a good result. The most positive result is the fact that the non oil sector grew by 8.4 %. This shows that the policy of industrialization is paying off".
Finding new sources of income in the light of sharp decline in oil prices can be considered an achievement for our country. As a result of implementing sound policies and making important decision, Azerbaijan had a new source of income by participating in several transit projects. President highlighted it in his speech: "Last year Azerbaijan managed to present itself to the world as a strong transit country. As we know, the investment in transportation infrastructure enabled this. Today, the routes from East to West, North to South passes through Azerbaijan. It is a new thing for the world too. And we have achieved that. By investing and creating favorable business environment, we turn Azerbaijan into irreplaceable transportation hub. We have made serious improvement in this regard last two 
years. Now, cargoes are transferred not only through Middle East, but also from China to South Korea, from Europe to Azerbaijan". 

We also restored the historic "Silk Road". In addition, for the first ever the cargoes were being transferred from Europe to Asia, from Ukraine to China through Azerbaijan. The cargo that was in the past transferred from Turkey to Middle East, Georgia and Russia are now being transferred to Asia through Azerbaijan". 
These are all, of course, results of a sound policy. Measures taken on time and other works that were done to minimize the economy's dependence on oil, the planned diversification today yields results.  Now Azerbaijan presents its capacity to the world as an important transit country. This bring in revenues, as well as, 
strengthening the strategic and geopolitical importance of our country. 

President Ilham Aliyev talked at length about the social issues during his speech: "We implemented all these social programs in 2015. I want to repeat again, although our financial situation is not as it used to be, we will not cut any social programs".  During last year, against the backdrop of the falling oil prices and a decrease in country's income, the government is doing its best to minimize the negative impact on social sphere. The government tried to prevent the devaluation of currency at a time when oil revenues fell four times. Even though the process was inevitable, government took steps to prevent the low income people from suffering even more. In addition to increasing the salaries, pensions and benefits to the extent possible, the price hike of flour and bread was prevented. This once again proved that Azerbaijan is a social state. 

In his speech, he also addressed the objectives for the future. He stated there would be serious economic reforms in 2016: "Certain decisions have already been made and changes were made into legislation. I have signed some decrees and issues orders. We will sign more decrees so that we can strengthen our economy. The main purpose of the reforms is to make sure that Azerbaijani economy is no different than the other economies when it comes to transparency. I'm confident we will achieve this with joint efforts". 

As we can see, the state of Azerbaijan, particularly president Ilham Aliyev's strategic policies demonstrate that it is capable of developing despite all difficulties. And this is of course possible due to timely decisions and well thought out strategy. President's adequate and quick reaction to the current situation increase the confidence that Azerbaijan will maintain rapid economic and social development in 2016 too. 

T. Dadashov