Azerbaijani President chairs Cabinet meeting to discuss outcomes of socio-economic development in 2011 and outline priorities for 2012

Baku, January 16 (AZERTAC). Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has today presided over a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers to discuss outcomes of the country`s socio-economic development in 2011 and outline priorities for 2012.

In his opening speech, the President said the country fulfilled all socio-economic tasks set in 2011. “Last year our economy grew 0.1 per cent, while the non oil sector saw a 9.4 per cent increase. The development of the non-oil sector played a key role in creating new jobs. The share of the non-oil sector increased 11.1 per cent last year.”

The Head of State said: ”We maintained a single-digit inflation, with the population`s money incomes increasing 19.6 per cent in 2011.”

The President said last year saw a record investment volume, adding “20 billion dollars were invested in the country”.

“This included 13 billion dollars of domestic investment, while 7 billion dollars came from foreign sources. In general, the last two years saw 37 billion dollars invested in Azerbaijan.”

President Aliyev praised the fact “for the first time, our currency reserves exceeded 40 billion dollars. Wages and pensions were increased last year, with the number of families receiving targeted social assistance reaching 120,000.”

“We remain committed to market economy principles, and, at the same time, we are making success in social policy. Last year we continued the construction of healthcare, educational, sports and cultural facilities across the country.”

The President said 94,000 jobs were created in the country in 2011, adding “of them 73,000 are permanent jobs”.

“The unemployment level fell to 5.4 per cent last year, while the poverty level declined to 7.6 per cent.”

President Aliyev emphasized Azerbaijan`s foreign policy achievements in 2011.

“Our country was elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which means we enjoy the international community`s trust and confidence.”

The Azerbaijani leader also touched upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, expressing regret “last year has not marked progress in peace talks”.

“It is Armenia`s non-constructive position that has been preventing the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

However, President Aliyev lauded statements by heads of state of Minsk Group`s co-chairing countries, who said a status-quo in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was unacceptable. The Head of State stressed the importance of fulfilling resolutions on the conflict.

“Azerbaijan`s army today has very great potential, we have the strongest military in the region, and this is what makes Armenia experience high levels of anxiety.”

The President also touched upon Azerbaijan`s achievements in tourism and youth policy.

“We declared 2011 the Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan, and a considerable job has been done as part of this.”

“We also adopted the ‘Azerbaijani youth in 2011-2015 State Program’, and established a Youth Fund.”

President Aliyev also praised the achievements of the country`s energy industry.

“Important work was done in 2011 to boost our energy sector, including increasing Azerbaijan`s energy potential, discovering new gas fields, and strengthening the country`s gas transportation and transit capabilities.”

Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev, chief of the State Committee for Work with Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov, minister of communications and information technologies Ali Abbasov, chairman of the State Social Protection Fund Salim Muslumov made speeches at the event.

Closing the meeting, President Aliyev underlined the necessity of “working actively in order to make the same success in 2012”.

“Azerbaijan`s 2012 State expenditure budget is 22 billion manats, while the consolidated budget is 25 billion manats.”

The Head of State said there were opportunities to strengthen the financial stability and ensure financial transparency in the country.

President Aliyev said the budget of the State Investment Program was 5.7 billion manats, adding “implementing drinking water and sewerage projects will be a priority in 2012”.

“Our other priorities for this year include irrigation and melioration, gas and electricity supply, and ICT projects, as well as development of space industry, in particular the launch of Azerbaijan`s first satellite.”

“We will also attach a particular emphasis to ensuring food security, developing agriculture and entrepreneurship, implementing the Program for development of Baku and its suburbs, constructing social and infrastructure facilities, solving environmental problems, as well as continuing anti corruption and bribery measures.”

President Aliyev said army building would also be among the country`s key priorities in 2012.

At the end of the meeting the President declared 2012 the Year of Sport in Azerbaijan given the fact the country would participate in London Olympic Games this year.

Ten Olympic Sports Complexes will be built in the country in 2012, with the work to construct an Olympic Stadium and a Gymnastics Complex and reconstruct the Tofig Bahramov Stadium entering its active phase.


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