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Economic diversification policy is yielding results

Interview with  Deputy chairman of the Social Policy Committee of the Milli Majlis, member of YAP Political Council Musa Guliyev

Q: Mr. Guliyev, how would you describe the results of 2014 for Azerbaijan?

A: National leader Heydar Aliyev is the founder of Azerbaijan`s development strategy. That to national leader Heydar Aliyev Azerbaijan embarked on the path of steady development. The year 2003 marked a new chapter in this development. So the results of 2014 can be considered a continuation of the socio-economic development concept that was launched in 2003. Last year saw successful development of the regions which contributed to the development of the country`s socio-economic life. One of the key features of 2014 was that it saw considerable development of the non-oil sector. Half of the gross domestic product is generated thanks to the non-oil sector. And this proves that President Ilham Aliyev`s economic diversification policy is yielding its results. As a result of this policy inflation in the country was just 1.4 percent. This is a high indicator. The population`s incomes rose 4.8 percent. The population`s incomes were three times bigger than the level of inflation. Poverty stood at the level of five percent. Unemployment is below five percent.

Since 2003, nearly 3000 secondary schools, 600 medical facilities have been built and repaired in Azerbaijan.  A lot of parks, roads, bridges have been constructed.

One of the highlights of the last year was Azerbaijan`s ranking 38 in terms of competitiveness in the rankings of international organizations. Among 200 states, Azerbaijan made it to the top 40 countries list. This clearly testifies to the country`s socio-economic steadfastness.

Another important indicator of 2014 was that a total of 28 billion manats were invested in the country`s economy. Of this, 11 billion manatswere domestic investment. Azerbaijan is today already investing in other countries.

The last year marked the groundbreaking ceremony of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which is an important step towards realization of TAP and TANAP projects. All this show that Azerbaijan will continue playing a profound role in ensuring energy security of Europe.

Q: State program of socio-economic development of the regions of Azerbaijan is being successfully implemented. How will this program, projects contribute to increasing the population`s welfare in the regions?

A: The reforms carried out in Azerbaijan and the sound policies have given an impetus to the comprehensive development of our country. The adoption of the first program in 2004 played a special role in the development of the regions of Azerbaijan. The first five-year program managed to create a major change in the regions. After this, the second program was adopted. The program covering the years 2009-2013 has also been completed.

Over the last years Azerbaijan has developed most rapidly in the world. The main prerequisites for this are the reforms, the stability and public order observed in our country. Of course, stability and sound policies have created favorable conditions for the development of the economic sphere. In Azerbaijan, economic reforms are complemented by political transformation.

Q: What is your vision of the country`s agrarian sector? What are the prospects of its development?

A: Azerbaijan is today one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Agriculture, tourism, information and communication technologies, processing industry are considered to be basic priority areas in the development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan.

The government of Azerbaijan attaches great attention to the development of the agrarian sector. Agriculture is developing at a rapid pace in Azerbaijan. Considerable reforms have been carried out in order to develop agriculture and build necessary infrastructure in the country`s districts. As you know President Ilham Aliyev signed an executive order to announced 2015 the Year of Agriculture.

Thanks to government attention and support the agricultural production has increased in the country. Successful agricultural policy and dynamic development, wide and purposeful measures taken for the establishment of new vacancies will serve to change the appearance of the villages, increase the agricultural showings and speed-up development of the socio-economic development.

ICT is another rapidly developing sector in Azerbaijan. Our country has already put two satellites into orbit. The third satellite will be launched in 2017.

I would also like to highlight the development of tourism. Tourism has become one of the rapidly growing industries in Azerbaijan. Our country is becoming one of the globally popular tourism attractions. Special attention it paid to the transport sector.

Q: Representatives of radical opposition attempt to discredit the country. What do you think of it?

A: They are fulfilling orders they receive from external sources. I think that they should accept the reality. They allege that oil revenues are not fairly distributed. But it is absolutely wrong. For example. More than 5000 Azerbaijani youth are studying at leading universities across the world. This was possible thanks to state budget funds. It is the policy of transferring oil revenues into human capital. As I have already mentioned more than 3000 schools, 600 medical facilities were built and repaired, hundreds of parks, bridges, roads, industrial enterprises, plants were constructed in the past 10 years.

The world is now struggling with the economic crisis. Many European countries are reconsidering their policies, cut jobs, decrease pensions and salaries. But in Azerbaijan, the crisis is not felt. The reason is that oil revenues are fairly distributed. Azerbaijan`s currency reserves exceed 50 billion dollars.

So all allegations of the radical opposition are absurd. And they should not be taken for serious.