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President Ilham Aliyev inaugurated Tovuzchay water reservoir VIDEO

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Tovuz, February 16, AZERTAC

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of Tovuzchay water reservoir in Tovuz.

Chairman of Azerbaijan Melioration and Water Management company Ahmad Ahmadzade informed the head of state of the work done here.

The President was informed that the total capacity of Tovuzchay water reservoir is 20 million cubic meters of water, while its net capacity is 18 million cubic meters.

The dam surrounding the facility is 45 meters in height, 10 meters in width and 1,340 meters in length.

The water basin of the reservoir occupies an area of 160 hectares. It is 2.6 km in length.

Bridges were built over Tovuzchay and Axinchay rivers as part of the project.

President Ilham Aliyev then met with representatives of the general public of Tovuz.

Greeting representatives of the district public, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- My warm greetings to all of you. I am very glad to be visiting Tovuz District again. I am visiting Tovuz yet again. Every time we meet for important opening ceremonies.

Tovuz District is developing successfully. The socioeconomic development of the district is very fast. Many social facilities have been commissioned – the Olympic Center, the Diagnostic Center, the Central Hospital, etc. Beautiful parks, recreation areas and hotels are built, the city is getting prettier and equipped with modern amenities.

We are also pleased with the development of agriculture in Tovuz District. Today's ceremony is of particular importance for the development of agriculture, because the commissioning of the Tovuzchay water reservoir will, I am sure, contribute to even faster agricultural development here.

As you know, this water reservoir was designed back in Soviet times, but for some reason it was not implemented. In 1992, the project was suspended, but at the current stage we have been able to implement it. A special order was signed and funds were allocated from the state budget to implement the project. Today, this project is being put into operation. It will improve irrigation of an area of 20 hectares and 300 hectares of irrigable lands will be included in the turnover.

Of course, where there is water, agriculture will develop. Our main goal is to develop agriculture in all our regions even faster, because the development of agriculture means more jobs and local production. At the same time, I believe that agricultural products should and will be our main export products after oil and gas.

To develop agriculture, we have already implemented two similar projects – the Takhtakorpu and Shamkirchay water reservoirs. The Shamkirchay water reservoir is nearby. These projects are already surrounded by new development projects. We also expect to implement the Shamkir Agropark project, new agricultural projects in Shabran, Khizi and Siyazan districts. They will be implemented soon. Therefore, by investing in this sector, the state pursues several goals. First of all, these are very important projects for a sustainable use of our water resources. We also address water security issues, which is of particular importance for a country like Azerbaijan which depends more on external sources of water. We need to maximize the use of our water resources. At the same time, the rapid development of agriculture will continue to be secured.

Last year, agriculture grew by more than 6 per cent, and I hope that it will grow rapidly this year too. In all our regions, we should conduct specialization. Tovuz District has traditional agricultural products. Its development and the creation of new acreage, in particular the development of viticulture, are important. People's living standards will improve. We will ensure our food security. Our main goal is not only to provide ourselves with food, but also to access foreign markets with high-quality products. We are taking important steps in this direction. The commissioning of the Tovuzchay water reservoir occupies a special place among them.

I am confident that 2016 will be successful in Azerbaijan in terms of socioeconomic development. The world economy is gripped with an ongoing recession. The conclusion I reached when attending the world economic and security forums at the beginning of this year is that the end to this crisis is not visible yet. Our region is experiencing an economic and, in some cases even military and political crisis. Azerbaijan is a place of stability and a country of development. Although our revenues have declined significantly, we need to work even more effectively. I am sure that by developing agriculture, processing and industrial sectors in particular, we will achieve economic progress. I am confident that 2016 will be a successful year for our country. The budget will be amended, and we will implement all the necessary social and investment projects with the minimum level of the oil price of 25 dollars.

The oil price has dropped fourfold. Of course, this is a big test for oil-producing countries. But difficulties are also experienced by countries that do not have natural resources, because their traditional markets can no longer buy their products as in previous years. Of course, the drop in oil prices is causing concerns in countries rich in natural resources. Therefore, I believe that we now have to build our economic development only on the basis of the non-oil sector.

Under such circumstances we will overcome any crises and ensure successful and sustainable development of our country. Therefore, at this stage the priority issues are business development and the deepening of drastic reforms. I am sure that the new reforms planned at the end of last and beginning of this year will have their say in the near future.

All financial and economic mechanisms in Azerbaijan must rely on the experience of leading countries of the world. The development of the financial and economic sector will allow us the opportunity to be independent of the oil price. That is our main task.

The main role here, of course, is played by the development of our regions. In 2004, when the first regional development program was on the table, I said that the development of our country should depend on the non-oil sector. From that day to the present time, many important projects have been implemented in all our regions, including the western region. If we hadn’t adopted programs on regional development, we would be in a very difficult situation today. So I am convinced that we should complete year 2016 successfully. There are opportunities to achieve that. The public and political stability in Azerbaijan, the unity between the people and the government, the sound economic policies and the deepening of reforms will, I am sure, enable us to successfully complete this year too.

The task has been set to completely eliminate the dependence on the oil factor in a few years. I am confident that we will achieve that.

I greet the people of Tovuz again and congratulate you on all your successes. I am pleased that the district is developing successfully and great projects are being implemented. I wish you continued success. Thank you.

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The head of state launched Tovuzchay water reservoir.

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