The budget of Azerbaijan Republic for 2004 and drafts state budget and oversight budget for next 3 years, conception of the socio-political development, forecasted indexes for 2004 and for next 3 years were considered at the sitting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on September 24.

The sitting was presided by vice-premier Arthur Rasizadeh. Minister of Economic Development Farhad Aliyev, Minister of Finances Avaz Alakbarov noted that these figures had been considered in state structures, IMF and WB missions. Currently, Azerbaijan negotiates with those international organizations on adjustment of energy tariffs, strengthening of financial discipline, rational usage of incomes from oil sale, tax reforms, state investment policy, regional development, directions of structural reforms. The work, financed from a $1 million grant given by US Department of State and aimed at Azerbaijan’s joining the World Trade Organization, is being implemented.

Speaking on the country’s main economic development indexes for 2004 and next 3 years, the orators stressed that it is scheduled to improve the legislative base in economy, ensure tariff stability, dynamic development of non-oil sector. The main measures of the state policy in stimulating the growth and effectiveness of production in the non-oil sector is to replace the obsolete equipment, raise competitive capacity of goods. In the agrarian sector, the priority directions will be the development of traditional sectors - viticulture, cotton growing, tobacco growing, and sericulture. It is scheduled to use Mortgage credits and leasing in banking sector, while in energy sector - decrease of state subsidies for “Azerenergy” and “Azerigas”.

Volume of investments in all the financial sources in 2004 will come to 18,3 trillion manat and foreign investments - $3 billion. As to social sphere, the salary will average 525 thousand manat, and growth rates - 18,5%. Volume of the foreign trade turnover will total $4,7 billion. By specialist’s estimation, the average level of national currency against American dollar will hover around 4975 manat.

Proposals of some ministers on increasing the volume of financing of public health, education, refugees’ social problems were considered.

In conclusion, it was decided to approve the state budget and economic forecast and submit them to president’s consideration.

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