"Contract of the Century" as guarantee of Azerbaijan’s independence
September 20 marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the "Contract of the Century", which plays an important role in the formation and development of Azerbaijan as a modern state. 25 years ago, the signing of an agreement the world would speak about at a time when the socio-political situation was difficult, signified the great future of Azerbaijan. But what was the importance of signing and implementing this agreement for Azerbaijan?
According to MP Tahir Mirkishili, the "Contract of the Century" was the beginning of Azerbaijan’s economic independence. "As a result of this agreement, the economic development directions of Azerbaijan were defined, and a potential for economic development of our country was created. The independence of Azerbaijan has been proclaimed since 1991, and if June 15, 1993 is the National Salvation Day, then September 20, 1994 is a landmark day for the revival and development of the country's economy. At that time, the country was in a quite difficult situation. That is, from 1991 to 1994, annual GDP in the Azerbaijani economy declined to 17 percent, with hyper-inflation of up to 1700 percent in the country. The income of the country’s citizens was reduced almost three times a year, and the exchange rate of the manat decreased by 245 times. At that time, the economy needed a new source and force to restore the economy, which became the "Contract of the Century". It is precisely the vision of the great leader Heydar Aliyev and his leadership in Azerbaijan that allowed him to sign this agreement and ensure the future of our country in a more secure way,” the MP emphasized.
Mirkishili noted that over the past 25 years, Azerbaijan has achieved most of its goals that were set when the "Contract of the Century" was signed, and new goals have emerged now. "Thus, Azerbaijan has managed to bring Caspian resources to the world market over the past period. Our country attracted more than $ 250 billion in investments. Azerbaijan has earned $ 125 billion over the past 25 years since the signing of the "Contract of the Century", has brought technology to our country and created a new infrastructure. That is, the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and later the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway eliminated the regional economic blockade and opened the region to the world market as a whole. One of the most important aspects of the "Contract of the Century" was the further improvement of the welfare of the citizens by directing their incomes to increase social welfare. If we look at the figures, we can see that there has been significant progress in real incomes and salaries of the population over the past period. At the same time, more than 5,000 students have studied abroad, and Azerbaijan is making significant progress towards the development of human capital. Over 3,500 schools, hospitals and other social infrastructure have been renovated and reconstructed. I think that the "Contract of the Century" has become a very important foundation for Azerbaijan’s economy in the new era,” he said.
"Today, Azerbaijan is building a modern economy, carrying out economic reforms. The main objective is to build a sustainable economy, where non-oil sector is a leading force. It should be borne in mind that the source of funding for the non-oil sector's economic reforms today is the revenue we derive from the "Contract of the Century". Our country has sufficient oil and gas reserves. With the launch of the Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijan will be able to bring its gas to the world markets and generate new revenues. We are confident that the new revenues will contribute to further modernization of the Azerbaijani economy as a whole, improving the welfare of people and strengthening the social policy of our state,” noted the MP.
MP Eldeniz Salimov said that the "Contract of the Century" made a great contribution to strengthening the independence and development of our country. "Azerbaijan's position among the world countries has improved significantly in the short term after the agreement was signed. The return of national leader Heydar Aliyev to power in 1993 determined Azerbaijan's fate. He searched for various ways to get the country out of this situation. The first thing to do was to prevent the country from collapsing and then to think about development. A long-term work was made on the contract. On September 20, 1994, the contract was signed with the West's largest oil companies,” he said.
Salimov stressed that after the signing of the "Contract of the Century", oil produced from the Chirag field was exported from the Supsa port to the world market. "That day laid the foundation for the development of the country's economy. The economy was diversified. At the expense of incomes, the social status of the population was improved, new jobs were created and production facilities were created,” he added.
The "Contract of the Century" plays an important role in today's development of Azerbaijan. Transformation of oil capital into human capital is one of the goals. The country's development and stability contributed to the attraction of foreign investors. Investors who came to our country at that time are still working here. The contract is still playing its significant role today. As President Ilham Aliyev says, oil revenues are not a goal, but a means to continually improve the welfare of our people. As a result, the head of state has signed a new contract to extend the term of the "Contract of the Century" till 2050, taking into account the successes and future of our people and our state. New international energy security projects have been launched and Azerbaijan has become a speaker in these projects.