Our Analytics 2 august — 19:33

President's words and economics' figures: Money went to benefit 4 million citizens

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BY ELNUR MAMMADOV, ECONOMICS SECTION

At a recent meeting related to the socio-economic sphere, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expressed satisfaction with the state of the country's economy. 'The tasks that we set ourselves at the beginning of the year are being fulfilled, our country is developing steadily, and major infrastructure projects are being implemented. The general economic situation is very positive, which is also reflected in the figures,' said the head of state.

We are accustomed to objective assessments of the president of the country and never even tried to doubt his words. But usually the head of state, noting the achievements, does not forget to emphasise the shortcomings in a particular area of the economy. And here - solid positive, which clearly indicates the confident development of the country's economy. In any case, during the first half of this year.

Indeed, over the six months of this year, the country's economy as a whole grew by 2.4%, and the non-oil sector - by 3.2%. And the most encouraging indicator, as President Aliyev noted, is related to the non-oil industry. The growth here is 15.7%, which indicates that in recent years his industrialisation policy has yielded excellent results. The non-oil industry is advancing in record steps. In principle, in recent years it has grown at a fairly high rate, but in recent months this growth has been especially noticeable. Of course, in this area the role of large enterprises commissioned this year is quite large. As you know, such large enterprises as the carbamide plant, the SOCAR-Polymer plant, whose production volume is quite large, were commissioned. At the same time, the necessary steps are being taken to develop small and medium-sized enterprises. It is no coincidence that the head of state noted as a very encouraging fact the almost 16 per cent growth of the non-oil industry in six months.

Along with industry, record levels have been achieved in agriculture. In the six months since the beginning of this year, agriculture has increased by 13%. This was mainly due to crop production, where growth was as much as 25%. The president found a simple explanation for this - the investments made, reforms being carried out, subsidies issued, and a scientific approach to agriculture are yielding results. And he expressed confidence that in the coming years, agriculture will develop steadily and thus serve to increase both the country's employment and food security, and agricultural exports.

And rightly so, if the desired direction is chosen, then the goal is achieved quickly and easily. The country's trade turnover has also grown sufficiently - by more than 20%. At the same time, non-oil exports increased by 15%. Other indicators look no worse. So, over six months more than $6 billion of investments have been invested in the country's economy. A significant part of them is invested in the non-oil sector. Inflation is only 2.5%. This is also a good indicator. Incomes of the population increased by 6.6%. Budget revenues from the Ministry of Taxes and the State Customs Committee increased by more than 440 million manats, that is, they were collected in excess of the plan, which also serves as a manifestation of ongoing reforms.

'In a word, all economic indicators give reason to say that we are developing in the right direction and are fulfilling all the tasks before us.' Thus, he briefly summarised the achievements of the Azerbaijani economy in the first half of this year. But such an assessment would be incomplete without specifying the address to which hundreds of millions of extra money were sent that the country earned due to the harmonious development of its economy. And the president indicated this address.

According to him, at the beginning of this year a very large social package was approved, and these social initiatives cover more than 4 million people. Very important steps have been taken - the minimum wage and minimum pension have been significantly increased. For the first time by 40%, the second - also by 40%. And if the population has already felt the first increase, then the second surcharge will be paid from September. The minimum wage has been almost doubled - from 130 to 250 manats. And the minimum pension increased from 116 to 200 manats. This is also significant growth, which, of course, requires large financial resources. It can be said that we direct the entire amount of additional income to the social sphere, since this is a priority area for us, it has always been in the spotlight, and this is the case today.

Yes, the welfare of Azerbaijani citizens, their standard of living is always in the focus of attention of the head of state, and he resolves these issues whenever possible. Of course, the implementation of this social package requires large financial resources. You can add here the social benefits, which are almost doubled. The allowance paid to internally displaced persons was increased by 50%, a solution to the problem of bad loans was found, other social initiatives were put forward, which once again testifies to the social orientation of the policy of the president and his team. Improving the social status of citizens is the main task of this ruling team.

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