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Azerbaijani regions are rapidly developing

Interview with  Member of the Milli Majlis Regional Issues Committee Tahir Rzayev

Q: What is the role of the state programs in the development of the regions?

A: The adoption of the first program in 2004 has 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. I can say that these programs have played a very important part in regional development and in strengthening the economic potential of Azerbaijan as a whole.

The reforms carried out in Azerbaijan and the sound policies have given an impetus to the comprehensive development of our country. Today Azerbaijan is looking to the future with very high hopes and optimism. The key to this is our economic independence, our economic strength and political will.

In general, if the first program had not been adopted in 2004, the current realities of Azerbaijan could be completely different. Regional development, support for entrepreneurs, development of the non-oil sector, reduction of our dependence on imports and creation of the export potential are the indicators of recent years.

Last year we adopted the third state program on the socioeconomic development of the regions of Azerbaijan.

In Azerbaijan all of the work went in a positive direction last year. Azerbaijan is confidently moving forward and has achieved sustainable development. Azerbaijan is an island of stability and a place development in the world, because there is unity between the people and the government in Azerbaijan and all government initiatives are supported by the people. All steps of the government serve the development of Azerbaijan. The public and political situation in our country is stable, major investments are made in the economy and very important steps are taken to diversify the economy.

Azerbaijan is one of the notable countries not only in the region but also globally, and interest in us is increasing in the world. If we look at 2004, we can see that over the past 11 years Azerbaijan has been the fastest growing country in the world from economic and social points of view.

Q: New industrial, processing facilities are being created in the regions, which contributes to the development of the non-oil sector. The development of the non-oil sector is among key priorities for the government. How important is this sector in terms of diversification of economy?

A: The creation of industrial enterprises in the regions is very important. It is no coincidence that the majority of industrial facilities have been built in the regions. This plays a crucial role in terms of ensuring employment of residents in villages and regions.

Despite falling oil prices and continuing crisis in the world, Azerbaijan`s economy remains stable. Azerbaijan is hailed as a land of stability and development. This was possible thanks timely preventive measures and purposeful economic policy. Diversification policy paved the way for the establishment of strong and sustainable economy.

However, the head of the state set a goal to increase the non-oil economy over the next years. This will allow making Azerbaijan's economy more flexible, sustainable, meeting the modern requirements, as well as will significantly decrease the dependence on oil sector.

Investments are made in different areas: the development of industry, agriculture, tourism and, of course, the oil and gas industry. And this is natural. After all, our economy is diversified. That is exactly why our economic growth continues even though the oil prices are sharply falling now. But thanks to the non-oil sector, our country will continue to develop, which will make our growth sustainable. So our main goal is to minimize our dependence on the oil factor and develop Azerbaijan by means of the non-oil sector in the future.

The share of the oil sector in the gross domestic product has fallen from 80 to 60 percent. There is huge potential for the development of the non-oil sector in our country. Industrial districts will be created in the country, which will give big stimulus to the development of the non-oil sector.

Q: The President announced 2015 the Year of Agriculture. How will events to be held within the framework of the year impact on the development of regions?

A: President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed an executive order declaring 2015 the Year of Agriculture in the country. This order is a vivid evidence of the head of state`s attention to the development of agriculture.

The order hails agrarian reforms in the country, saying they paved the way for the rapid development of agriculture in the country. It lauds the role of electronic agriculture system in increasing effectiveness and transparency in management.

Declaring 2015 the Year of Agriculture is aimed at giving a new stimulus to the development and modernization of agriculture, ensuring a complex and systematic approach to settlement of problems in the agrarian field, involving the government`s administrative and financial resources in this sector, and promoting the country`s agrarian potential.

Azerbaijan was the first country in the Commonwealth of Independent States to carry out land reforms. And this proves that the government of Azerbaijan puts great importance on the agrarian sector.

The agrarian sector in Azerbaijan has set out in the Year of Agriculture with a good baggage of achievements. At the same time, important work lies ahead. For, in the final count, it is a question of the country's food security, the growth of food self-sufficiency, which is particularly important against the backdrop of the crisis phenomena occurring in the world economy. It is precisely a complex of measures and greater attention focused on the agrarian sector that can facilitate the fulfilment of these tasks and promote the growth of agriculture's share in the country's GDP.

Q: We would like to learn your opinion on the activity of municipalities…

A: Municipalities are improving their activity on a yearly basis. I believe that last year`s elections will mark a new development stage in the activity of local self-governance bodies. The majority of municipality employees are now youth, women, highly-educated people. This is also important in terms of human resources. I would also like to hail the government`s reforms to improve the work and increase effectiveness of the activity of municipalities.

Q: Are there any plans to improve municipality-related legislation?

A: As you know the Milli Majlis has kicked off its spring session. The Regional Affairs Committee has approved its plan of action. The committee plans to submit several draft laws to the Milli Majlis.

One of such bills deals with rules of ethical conduct of municipality employees. The draft law features 3 chapters and 20 articles. The main goal of this draft law is to increase the influence and improve the image of municipalities and strengthen citizens` confidence in municipalities.

It also focuses on issues such as increasing professionalism and individual responsibility of employees, preventing corruption, etc.

The bill also prohibits municipality employees from taking any steps that can breach human rights, contradict interests of citizens, and undermine their dignity.