"2019 will go down in history as a year of in-depth reforms. Political reforms, personnel reforms, structural reforms, economic, reforms in the political and social spheres have made us stronger," said President Ilham Aliyev in his message of congratulation to the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis and the New Year, APA reports.
President Ilham Aliyev emphasized that our economy grew this year, the non-oil sector of the economy grew by more than 3 percent: "Our foreign debt accounts for only 17 percent of the GDP. This is the ninth indicator in the world. In the following years, our foreign debt will decline further. Our foreign exchange reserves have grown by $4.5 billion this year, reaching a record high of $50 billion. Our currency reserves exceed our foreign debt more than five times. In other words, this shows the sustainability of the economic and financial opportunities of our country. Industrial production has increased, especially in the non-oil sector, by 14 percent. There is a 7 percent increase in agriculture. So the successful development of our country in all key areas is a reality.
We have become a donor country – according to a report of the International Development Association. We are now a lender, not a borrower. All this is a manifestation of a thought-out policy. All these successful accomplishments allow us the opportunity to allocate to the social sphere, and we did that. This year has been a memorable year from this perspective too. A broad and comprehensive social package was introduced, covering a total of 4,200,000 people. Some allowances have increased by 50 percent, some by 100 percent, that is more than doubled. The minimum wage has doubled and the minimum pension increased by 70 percent. We are in first place in the CIS for the purchasing power of the pension. Our social policy shows again, as I have repeatedly said, that our policies are centered on Azerbaijani citizens. I am confident that as we expand our economic opportunities in the coming years, even more attention will be paid to the social sphere.
In terms of transparency, this year has been a very successful year. Tax and customs authorities have added more than 1 billion manats to the treasury. Of course, this will enable us – I am sure that this trend will be observed next year too – to carry out even more extensive social and infrastructure projects.
Problems of the IDPs are being resolved. This year, new apartments and homes were built for more than 5,000 IDP families and about 800 martyr families. Thousands of homes have been built for the residents of Shamakhi, Ismayilli and Aghsu districts affected by the earthquake. The absolute majority of the consequences of this major earthquake were eliminated in just 10 months. This is also a unique issue because it demonstrates our intentions and strength. The Azerbaijani government and leadership demonstrated again that they are always with citizens."