‘We must strengthen our economy in order to fulfill all of our plans. Additional steps will be taken in this direction in the next years’, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said at the 6th congress of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party in Baku on Thursday, APA reports.
He noted that very serious economic reforms were conducted in the past two years: ‘The reforms have also been conducted in the previous years. But more effective and more active reforms were conducted in the past two years. These reforms allowed us to recover the situation emerged as a result of low oil price. Today, the country’s economy increases its rates. Reforms will be continued in the next years. Now, there are several questions and even, the international experts wonder whether high oil prices will affect these reforms or not. May be you don’t conduct the reforms as actively as previous. But I want to say again that rise in oil price will increase only our currency reserves. All state bodies should work so as if we have not oil sector. Therefore, we see our future development in the development of non-oil sector. Oil sector will just create extra financial source for us and this, in turn, strengthens our political resources. This is normal. Sustainable development of country’s economy will be determined by these factors – non-oil sector, entrepreneurship, reforms in management. Therefore, economic diversification, bringing international practice to Azerbaijan and use of leading technology in financial and fiscal policy will be the main factors for our development’.
The head of state noted that this policy has already yielded result: ‘Economic performances of 2016 showed that we are on the right road. Non-oil sector, non-oil sector of the economy increased by 2.7%, non-oil sector in the industry – by 3.7%, agriculture – 4.1%, currency reserves – by $4.5 billion. As for outcomes of January 2018, this shows that 2018 will be the year of quick development. In January the GDP increased by 2%, non-oil economy – by 4%, industry – by 1.5%, industrial production in non-oil sector – by 8.7%. Inflation makes up 5.5%. Personal incomes amount to 11%. In January our currency reserves increased $2 billion and make up $44 billion. I’m sure that 2018 will be the year of quick development and provide support to the next years. Projects implemented in agriculture and industry will yield results within one or two years’.
President noted that Azerbaijan is implementing big energy projects: ‘This is one of the main duties ahead of us. We must hand over the Southern Gas Corridor in time and we’ll do that. All financial resources have been provided by Azerbaijan and international banks. There were some delays, but they have been solved. Because the Southern Gas Corridor is of great importance for us and Europe. Azerbaijan is successfully fulfilling its mission of leadership. We are implementing this project successfully. Shahdeniz 2 will produce gas soon. I must also note that the Southern Gas Corridor is already supplied with gas. This is a historical project and main resource base for successful and sustainable development of the country. As I mentioned, a historical decision was made on extension of ACG exploitation. Therefore, Azerbaijan will further develop in oil and gas sector. However, I say again that we must work actively. As I noted this is only a financial and political resource for us. Today, Azerbaijan has its own say in the international arena. Why? Because of strong political will and courageous policy and financial opportunities. Had we been poor as Armenia, we wouldn’t have pursued independent policy. Therefore, economic power strengthens our independency’.