Azerbaijan finished the last year with achievements made in several areas. These achievements were once again noted in the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, led by president Ilham Aliyev, and dedicated to the social-economic outcomes of 2017 and future prospects. At the same time, president talked at lenght about the prospects in 2018.
It was revealed that the positive tendencies observed in the economy would be further strengthened in 2018 and new accomplishment would be made.
In particular, the increase of the Oil Fund's revenues will allow implementation of important projects and will ensure Azerbaijan's economic viability. Naturally, the increase of economic power allows Azerbaijan to continue its independent policy, to increase the political weight of our country in the international arena and to successfully implement the long-term development strategy. By the way, one of the main priorities for achieving economic growth in the country is attracting foreign investments. That is why in 2018, $ 15 billion is expected to be invested in the economy of Azerbaijan. This is one of the main indicators of our country's dynamic development.
Additionally, a number of successful projects have been signed in the development of the non-oil sector in 2017. Undoubtedly, this area will be in the spotlight in 2018. Support for the development of entrepreneurship, creation of production facilities will be sustainable. According to President Ilham Aliyev, the support provided to the economic sphere, industrial potential, agriculture, and the results, suggests that the process of creating new jobs will be speeding up in 2018. At the same time, the socio-political status of Azerbaijan's state policy will be reflected in the welfare of the citizens and their living. Because 35 million manat allocated for the self-employment program for 2018 will be a great support for 7,000 families.
As noted, at the meeting chaired by the President of Azerbaijan, significant steps have been taken to improve the social and living conditions of refugees and IDPs and to provide them with new housing and apartments. Only in 2017 more than 12,000 IDPs have been provided with new homes and apartments. In 2018, 20,000 IDPs will be relocated to new houses and apartments. A number of works are expected to be implemented in the implementation of social infrastructure projects in 2018. Thus, construction of a school-type 137 schools, including a new central district hospital in six cities and four Olympic Sports Complexes is planned in the regions.
Regarding the creation of industrial parks, the President stressed that practical measures are being taken in this direction. For example, at the end of 2017, four new ventures were opened in Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park and three foundations were laid. In addition, the opening of the first plant in the light industrial park in Mingachevir in 2018 is expected. 10 new carpet factories are scheduled to be opened in 2018, with the total number of carpet factories reaching 20.
Speaking about the development of the non-oil sector in the country in 2017, the measures that have been and will be taken in the field of agriculture should be especially emphasized when talking about the work to be done in this direction in 2018. Thus, in 2018, the projects covering various areas will be continued for the development of agriculture in order to reduce Azerbaijan's dependence on imports. Additional measures will be taken in the field of food security, in particular, grain production. As a result, dependence on imports will decline, the volume of export-oriented products will increase. Undoubtedly, the development of this area is directly related to the improvement of technical equipment. That is why this year 160 million manats are allocated for purchase of agricultural machinery.
Taking into account all these facts, we can confidently say that 2018 will be a year of constructivity, comprehensive development and progress, and new achievements will be made this year. The views expressed by experts in their statements on the subject to "Kaspi" also confirm this.
MP Azer Badamov said that we started 2018 with the achievements gained from last year's economic reforms: "President Ilham Aliyev noted that large-scale economic reforms were carried out in Azerbaijan in 2017. And 2018 will be a new phase in development of our country. The head of state stressed at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers that in 2018 work will be carried out in many areas. It covers both social and economic areas. The work on the social sphere is the continuation of initiated social projects. This includes the construction of schools, hospitals, sports and Olympic complexes, road construction, refugee and IDPs with more new apartments, gasification in the regions, increasing drinking water and sewerage services, and involving citizens in self-employment programs. About 35 million dollars will be allocated from the state budget for the self-employment program and the state will assist with the creation of business conditions for seven thousand people. It is possible to carry out large-scale work in the social sphere in 2018".
Badamov added that the work on the economic sphere will continue in 2018, too: "The industrialization process in our country started in 2017. As the President noted, Industrial Zone was opened in Neftchala, including the foundation of the industrial neighborhoods in Hajigabul and Masalli. Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park is expected to open new facilities. Of course, these enterprises will create conditions for the production of competitive products in Azerbaijan. The opening of a new venture in Mingachevir Light Industry Park will take place in 2018. Also, this year, contracts with several countries will be signed on the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which will increase the budget revenues. At the same time, the commissioning of the Southern Gas Corridor may take place. Certain work is already being completed in the implementation of the project. 99% of the Shah Deniz-2 project and 90% of the TANAP project have been completed, and these projects may be finalized. Generally, the goals set by President Ilham Aliyev for 2018 are very broad. Significant steps will be taken in the field of agriculture, as well as in the development of the agrarian sector, and the processes laid down last year will continue. We can say that the priorities set in 2018 are very broad and we will finish this year with dynamic development of Azerbaijan. "
MP Aydin Huseynov said that 2017 is viewed as a year of great economic reforms, as President Ilham Aliyev's stated at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the results of socioeconomic development and upcoming tasks in 2017: "The economic strategy implemented in 2017 is very straightforward and the programs implemented under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev have completely justified itself. Despite the global financial crisis, the GDP of Azerbaijan grow in 2017. And this allows Azerbaijan's successes to continue, and large projects will be implemented in 2018. The TANAP project will be launched in 2018 and natural gas will be transferred to Turkey and Europe in the coming years. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will operate at full capacity and you know that this railway has over 10 million tons of cargo capacity. At the same time, over 1 million passengers are expected to be transported via this line. "
According to Huseynov, 2017 is characterized as the Year of Economic Reform and 2018 will be remembered by the achievement of great successes in the economy of the country.