Non-oil industry increased 15%: Azerbaijan’s record
The socio-economic policy, wide-ranging construction and improvement measures laid down by national leader Heydar Aliyev and successfully pursued by President Ilham Aliyev have led to comprehensive development of Azerbaijan. As a result of this policy, the difference between the capital and the regions of our country has been reduced, the non-oil sector has been developed along with the oil sector, a large entrepreneurial army has been established, and the social welfare of the citizens has been improving. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev chaired a meeting on the economic area on October 15. Speakers at the event included Azerbaijan's First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva, Prime Minister Ali Asadov, Assistant to Azerbaijan's President for Economic Policy and Industrial Issues Natig Amirov, Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov, Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Taxes Mikayil Jabbarov, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population Sahil Babayev, Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan Elman Rustamov, and Executive Director of State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan Shahmar Movsumov. At the meeting, the facts voiced showed that Azerbaijan's economy had developed over the current year.
"The socioeconomic indicators for the first nine months of the year are positive. Economic growth has been secured. It is gratifying that economic growth in the non-oil sector exceeds 3 percent. This suggests that diversification measures are bearing fruit. Of course, we would like this growth to be higher. I believe that there are enough opportunities and potential to achieve this. We simply need to use this potential with maximum efficiency,” said the head of state. "High performance in the non-oil industry has been achieved again. Thus, our non-oil industry has increased by more than 15 percent. This indicates that the reforms carried out in recent years, especially the measures to develop the non-oil sector, are yielding results. I can say that our non-oil industry growth of more than 15 percent can be considered a record indicator on a global scale.”
Major investments have been made in agriculture in recent years, President Aliyev emphasized. "Agricultural development has been identified as a priority area. At the same time, in previous years I was somewhat surprised that with such a volume of investments, such support and the provision of subsidies and low-interest loans, growth in agriculture was only at 2-3 percent. At the present time, serious advances are being observed in this sector as well. Thus, agriculture grew by more than 7 percent in nine months,” he said.
"Other economic indicators are also very positive. Our external public debt is at a very low level – it accounts for only 17 percent of the gross domestic product. According to this indicator, we are in ninth place in the world. I should also note that some countries registering better results than ours are the countries that do not receive any external loans at all. Therefore, their high place does not reflect the objective picture. Thus, we are in a leading position in terms of the low level of the external debt on a global scale. I want to say again that I set this task for the government: we must reduce external public debt every year, and this is provided for in the budget for next year,” the head of state noted.
The inflation rate is very low – a little more than 2 percent, the Azerbaijani president pointed out. "It should be noted that a very serious and large-scale social package was implemented this year – the financial situation of more than 4.2 million people was improved, pensions, salaries and benefits were increased. In other words, billions of manats were spent on these purposes, and these funds were socially oriented. Despite this, the inflation rate is very low. This is a very good indicator. Incomes of the population significantly exceed inflation again,” he said.
Tahir Mirkishili, a member of the Committee on Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship of the Azerbaijani Parliament, said that the country has undergone significant socio-economic reforms and the successful results are obvious. The MP said that the economic chaired by the President of Azerbaijan on October 15 can be divided into three important parts. "The first is the economic and social conditions created in the country, which is highly appreciated in international rankings. A successful business, the country's potential, and the government's vision for the future are also included in this part. Azerbaijan has made significant progress in the Global Competitiveness Report and has been the most progressive country in the world that advanced 11 steps. The fact that Azerbaijan is TOP-20 reformer countries in the world in Doing Business, means that Azerbaijan has created sufficient conditions for rapid economic development. The second part was the relevant economic growth in the country following the establishment of this landmark, the President's notes on this. One of the most noteworthy aspects here is that there is a record increase in Azerbaijan in many areas. For example, the non-oil industry has increased by 15 percent and the agricultural sector by 7 percent. All these are real results of economic reforms in Azerbaijan,” he noted.
According to the MP, Azerbaijan has sufficient resources and its economy can grow. In his view, the economic reforms and the business environment created in the country are accelerating the development of all sectors of our economy. "To achieve this, it is necessary to eliminate the existing obstacles. In this regard, the head of the state again made a strong warning. There are economic resources for faster development of the Azerbaijani economy. By utilizing these resources more efficiently, more actively and dynamically aligning with each other, good results can be achieved both in the gross domestic product and in the development of the non-oil sector. As for the third direction, it is possible to note the factors that impede economic growth faster and at the same time increase the volume of the economy. The President's strong warnings about the fight against corruption and bribery at the meeting suggest that the fight against these negative aspects will be strengthened in Azerbaijan. The emergence of new mechanisms, as well as the use of new factoring and electronic mechanisms, will be effective steps to increase transparency and fight corruption and bribery,” he said.
Economic expert Vugar Bayramli also told our newspaper that in the first 9 months of this year, the growth in the Azerbaijani economy was mainly due to the non-oil sector. Practically, the growth in the non-oil sector helps maintain the pace of growth in the overall economy, he said. "The non-oil industry has increased by more than 15 percent, which is indicative of the gradual shift of economic growth from the oil sector to the non-oil sector. This is important in terms of the sustainability of economic development. At the same time, the results of the first 9 months of 2019 have shown the improvement of the investment climate in Azerbaijan with a high appreciation of the reforms in our country by international organizations, including international appraisers and financial institutions. According to the World Bank's Doing Business report, Azerbaijan was ranked among the most reforming countries in the world. Last year Azerbaijan was also on this list. In another economic competitiveness index, our country managed to improve its positions. This means that, in fact, the reforms contributed to the preservation of macroeconomic stability, the growth rate, and the strengthening of our international position. In this regard, the results of the first 9 months of 2019 should be positively assessed in terms of economic diversification,” the expert said.