Date: 27 January 2016, 15:01, READ:
At the meeting dedicated to the results of 2015 and future objectives, president Ilham Aliyev noted the importance of carrying out serious reforms for the development of industrial production. He said that, technoparks, industry clusters, as well as industrial zones should be created all over the country. He stressed the importance of accelerating the process and getting results. He stated that central executive bodies, relevant authorities and local municipalities and other related organizations should allocate space and create conditions for this. Tahir Mirkishili, a member of economic policy, industry and entrepreneurship committee of the National Assembly, answered "Kaspi"s questions regarding the presidents instructions about the development of industry.
- Tahir, what are industrial parks and neighborhoods and how important is the implementation of these project for the economy?
- Since 1960, the establishment of special zones for industrial purposes have been taking place in various forms. We can cite the establishment of free economic zones as the first examples. These zones were mainly established around sea ports in countries that had cheap labor force. At the same time, in the developed countries and even some socialist countries, such as Yugoslavia, the production-oriented zones were being created. The creation of production-oriented free economic zones helped the development of large scale production and thus transfer of related technology and knowledge. In addition to this type of industrial areas, "industrial neighborhoods" which didn't have special privileges such as being exempt from customs and tax concessions, were being formed and given different names in different countries. "Industrial neighborhood" are intended to be an additional mechanism for the development of small and medium business. Despite being intended for small and medium business, their size is sometimes close to that of industrial parks, covering hundreds of hectares of land. But in most cases, industrial neighborhood cover 5-80 hectare of land. It should be mentioned that, a regulatory organization is created to manage the production-oriented free economic zones, as well as industrial neighborhoods.
- What measures have been implemented for establishment of industrial park and neighborhoods and thus developing the non-oil sector to this day?
- There are currently four industrial park, 2 advanced technologies parks and one industrial neighborhood in Azerbaijan. They include Sumgayit Chemistry Industrial Park, Balakhani, Garadagh and Mingechevir industrial parks, Advanced Technologies Park, Mingechevir Advanced Technologies Park and Neftchala Industrial Neighborhood.
- In what regions can these industrial parks be opened and how can that be done?
- As you know, the development of the non-oil sector one of the top priority in Azerbaijan and in 2015 the non-oil sector increased by 8.4%. Industry is an important part of the structure of the non-oil sector. Industrial development is very important for economic development as a whole. So there's a plan to increase the number of industrial neighborhoods. President touched upon this subject in his recent speech. There is a potential in many Azerbaijani cities for establishment of such neighborhoods.
- Although president signed a decree called on establishment of industrial neighborhoods, there's only one pilot project being implemented in Neftchala. What is that pilot project about?
- The only industrial neighborhood , which is run by the operator Azerbaijan Investment Company, in the country if in Neftchala. There are two participants registered in this neighborhood with covers 10 hectares of land. These are "KEHF" Ltd which specializes in fish and animal food production and "Baku oil drilling equipment factory" CJSC which produces and repairs drilling equipments and RV's, incubator and pump. There are currently internal and external infrastructure being created there so that small and medium business can operate there effectively.
- In what other regions can such industrial neighborhoods be established?
- As I mentioned, many Azerbaijani towns have potential to create industrial neighborhoods. There are already many industrial enterprises in many cities. When neighborhoods are established, industry production, infrastructure and market opportunities are analyzed and later a decision is made.
- At the meeting of Cabinet Ministers, president Ilham Aliyev stressed that local authorities should be active and organize it by allocating spaces and creating necessary conditions. Has there been new proposals from any local authorities?
- Active involvement from local authorities will speed up this process. The establishment of these neighborhoods will contribute to the economic development in those countries. It is also a government policy.
- How much interest do domestic and foreign investors have in the creation of industrial parks and neighborhoods?
- The infrastructure and concession-support schemes in the industrial parks and neighborhoods are compatible with the international practice. In addition, the rules and laws adopted recently, by the initiative of the president, stimulates investors to come to Azerbaijan. In my opinion, the conditions will be favorable to both domestic and foreign investors and will contribute to the industrial development not only in the country, but also in the region.