President Ilham Aliyev chaired meeting of Cabinet of Ministers on results of socio-economic development in nine months of 2017 and future objectives VIDEO

Baku, October 9, AZERTAC

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has chaired a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to results of socio-economic development in the nine months of 2017 and objectives for the future.

The head of state made an opening speech.

Opening speech by President Ilham Aliyev

- Nine months of the year are over. Over these nine months, our country has developed successfully and comprehensively. Dynamic development was provided in all the spheres.

Our economic indicators for the nine months are also very positive. Our non-oil economy grew by 2.5 per cent. I think this is an excellent indicator. This is the result of the policy we have pursued in recent years, because the development of the non-oil sector is our main priority, and our non-oil economy growing by 2.5 per cent, in addition to being an indicator of our successful reforms, also shows that the issues of economic diversification of the country have been successfully addressed. The industrial part of the non-oil sector is also developing successfully. The non-oil industry grew by 3.1 per cent in 9 months. This is also an excellent result of our policy of industrialization. As you know, major great development has been achieved in agriculture in recent years, and major investments are being made. Comprehensive development of agriculture is a priority for our state, and results are also manifested in this sphere. Agriculture grew by 2.8 per cent.

Our foreign trade grew by 7 per cent. Import significantly exceeds exports here. The indicator of any development depends, inter alia, on the balance of foreign trade. And our positive balance of foreign trade in 9 months of the year equals $4.4 billion. I am confident that this figure will grow even more by the end of the year. Of course, this reflects our economic success, while at the same time very positively affects the rate of our national currency – the manat. Of course, this opens up ample opportunities in regulating the foreign exchange market. At the same time, this is a manifestation of our successful development. Our exports exceed imports by $4.4 billion.

Despite the fact that the price of oil on world markets is still low, this year we set the goal of increasing our foreign exchange reserves, as this is one of the main conditions for our economic and political independence. Although our expenses have increased and the tasks facing the country have become greater, we are trying to address them. This, of course, requires financial resources. The economical use of our foreign exchange reserves and, at the same time, the success of our correct investment program, of course, have allowed us the opportunity to increase our foreign exchange reserves. In nine months of the year, the currency reserves of Azerbaijan have grown – at present this figure is at the level of $42 billion. Since the beginning of the year, our foreign exchange reserves have increased by $4.5 billion. We have a long-term policy. We are thinking about the future of our country, about long-term sustainable development. So I want to note once again that our foreign exchange reserves and, in general, our economic opportunities are the key conditions for our independence.

Today we have asserted ourselves as an independent country on a global scale. We are known as a country that conducts an independent policy. Of course, this is based on a strong political will, the unity of the people and the government, and many other factors. Economic independence occupies a special place among them. Therefore, I believe that an increase in our foreign exchange reserves by $4.5 billion is one of the most successful results in nine months.

Over the nine months, the process of creating new jobs has been successful both in Baku and in the regions. During this period, 226,000 jobs were created, of which 171,000 are permanent. This allows us to keep unemployment at a low level. This process must be permanent because our population is growing and we must always think about creating new jobs.

In nine months of the year, the key infrastructure projects have been successfully implemented. More than 700 kilometers of drinking water lines have been laid, gasification in our country is at the level of 93 per cent, and this process continues. This in itself is an excellent indicator. The supply of electricity is improving, new substations are being built, electricity lines are being built. Land reclamation issues are being resolved. At the beginning of the year, the goal was set for this year to install modern irrigation systems on 150,000 hectares of land which were not irrigated before or were irrigated poorly. I am sure that by the end of the year we will reach this figure. According to the information provided to me, from the beginning of this year land reclamation measures were carried out on more than 50,000 hectares and irrigation water provided. During the remaining two and a half months, all this work must be completed. The successful implementation of our infrastructure projects gives impetus to the overall economic development, the development of the regions. Of course, in the coming years we must fully implement the outstanding infrastructure projects.

Our policy related to social infrastructure is being successfully conducted. About 100 schools have been built and renovated since the beginning of this year. This process continues. Twenty-seven medical facilities have been built and renovated. Other social infrastructure projects are being successfully implemented.

The problems of internally displaced people are always in the spotlight. There was a historic event this year. The village of Jojug Marjanli has been rebuilt. A new settlement is being established there now. A settlement of 50 houses has been opened and another 100 houses are under construction. A school, a mosque and a medical center have been built. Many issues related to jobs are being addressed there. The reconstruction and restoration of the village of Jojug Marjanli is a historic event.

Other issues related to IDPs are also being resolved. Construction work in Baku, Sumgayit and other regions has gained momentum. This year, thousands of families will be provided with new houses and apartments. This process will be continued next year. We still have many IDPs living in difficult conditions. The government is doing everything it can to resolve this issue as soon as possible. You know that more than 250,000 IDPs have been provided with houses and apartments.

This year we have had a lot of successes in the field of sports. Among them, of course, I should note the success we achieved at the Games of Islamic Solidarity. In fact, the holding of the Games of Islamic Solidarity in Baku is already a great success, and these Games were held at the highest level. The Azerbaijani team became the winner of these Games and finished in first place. This is a very serious factor, which demonstrates the development of our sport again.

Our positions in the international arena have become even stronger this year. Our external relations are multifaceted. We have established mutually beneficial and equal relations with all countries. We have achieved this. Azerbaijan today is recognized as a very reliable partner and a worthy country on a global scale. Our foreign policy is also open and independent, and this is seen with great approval by the world community.

In nine months of this year, I paid 14 visits to foreign countries. More visits are also envisaged for the rest of the year. Each of these visits was useful for our country. Azerbaijan communicates its position directly to foreign partners. My speeches during official visits and at international events reflect Azerbaijan's policy and our achievements. At the same time, I once again inform the world community about the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. More than 10 heads of state and government visited our country this year. More visits are expected before the end of the year. So our international relations are multifaceted. Our foreign policy provides our national interests. I want to repeat that Azerbaijan is a country enjoying great respect and very positive reputation in the international arena.

Our position related to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unchanged. This position has been openly declared from the highest platforms of the world. Nagorno-Karabakh is our historical and ancestral land. We must and we will return to these lands. The territorial integrity of our country is not and will never be negotiable. We will never allow the creation of a second Armenian state on our lands, and the restoration of our territorial integrity is our main priority.

You know that there has been no progress in the negotiations of late. Armenia tried to disrupt the talks broken and believed that it would achieve that. In other words, it accused us under various pretexts, tried not to resume the negotiations, and in order to achieve this put forward several conditions. Of course, I stated from the very beginning that no conditions would be accepted. By putting forward these conditions, they put themselves in a very stupid position and will be forced to give up this policy. Life and reality show again that, as always, our analysis and policy fully reflect reality.

Today, the process of talks is being restored without any preconditions. Armenia has once again disgraced itself in the eyes of the world community and the resumption of talks is not a favor to us. Their hysterical statements and fearful appeals to other countries actually represent an open recognition that they will not be able to withstand us on the battlefield. The April events showed that. The situation on the line of contact indicates that we fully possess dominant positions on the contact line today. Of course, Armenia should be the one more interested in the talks resuming because otherwise they will have to face bitter implications. The mediators dealing with this issue are trying to restore the talks. Of course, we support this. Therefore, I want to say again that although no tangible results have been achieved in this direction this year, Armenia has presented again itself in the eyes of the world community as a miserable, powerless and dependent country.

There have been very significant events in the oil and gas sector this year. In particular, a new contract for further development of the “Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli” field has been signed. The contract has been extended until 2050. This contract provides even better conditions for us even though the "Contract of the Century" also brought great benefits to Azerbaijan. The best possible conditions were ensured for that time. However, the current conditions are more profitable and are even better for us. The key essence of these conditions is that Azerbaijan's participation interest increases from 11 to 25 per cent. Seventy-five per cent of the profit oil will be transferred to Azerbaijan. The state oil company will act as the contractor for the new contract, and foreign oil companies will pay our country a bonus of $3.6 billion. These are excellent conditions, and the extension of the "Contract of the Century", the signing of a new contract is a historic event.

Another giant project is the Southern Gas Corridor. Work in this direction is also going well. The implementation of the Shah Deniz-2 project is 96 per cent through. The South Caucasus Pipeline, which delivers our gas to Georgia, is 98 per cent through. The TANAP project is 82 per cent and TAP is 53 per cent through. These figures actually show that the contract is being successfully implemented.

There are also good results in other important areas. The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is almost over. The official opening of this railway is planned for the near future. This is also a historic project. So the projects in which Azerbaijan is involved and in many cases as their initiator are of global nature. Their main goal and essence is that these projects and contracts strengthen our country. The power, economic potential and political weight of Azerbaijan, its role on the regional level are growing, and these contracts bring us greater economic profit and benefits. It is impossible to imagine how we would carry out all this creative and improvement work if the "Contract of the Century" had not been signed. Our main goal today is the development of the non-oil sector, and we are trying to focus on that, but we all need to know that if we had used our oil revenues inefficiently, hadn’t accumulated large funds in the Oil Fund and channeled them into infrastructure and other projects, our current condition would be completely different, of course.

We have done all this work in a prudent manner. Oil and gas revenues are spent on human capital, on the implementation of infrastructure projects and on private sector development. At the same time, these projects enhance the role and weight of our country in the international arena. No project, not even a single political initiative can be implemented without our participation in this region. Azerbaijan has asserted itself in the world as a strong state. Of course, this is very pleasing for all of us. In the coming years, the power of our country will grow even more.

Very serious steps have been taken this year related to economic reforms. Strategic road maps are being executed. There have been delays in some cases, but it was generally a very serious reform. The development of entrepreneurship is also being ensured. The investment promotion mechanism is fully launched. I should note that more than 200 investment promotion documents have been issued. Within the framework of this project, investments in the amount of 1.7 billion manats will be made in our country by the private sector. So by carrying out one serious reform, we have attracted investments from the private sector in the amount of 1.7 billion manats. In other words, we should have done this a long time ago. We talked about the investment promotion mechanism in earlier periods too. There were certain obstacles and different opinions there. However, life shows how correct this step has been.

The investment promotion mechanism has been launched. I will voice some figures related to exports later. This mechanism has also had a very serious impact. Therefore, this year will remain in the history of Azerbaijan as a year of serious economic reforms. Large-scale improvement and landscaping work is in full swing in the regions, major cities and Baku today. The development of industrial production, agriculture, the creation of industrial zones – all this is a reality. Our policy is approved and supported by the public and business people.

Of course, the calculations of the Davos World Economic Forum show and reflect our successes in the economic sphere. Azerbaijan has advanced by two steps this year – from 37th to 35th place – and further improved its rating. Therefore, this analysis conducted among 140 countries, the report reflecting the competitiveness of countries shows that Azerbaijan in economic terms is among 35 most competitive economies on a global scale. This is a great success and a historic achievement. I must also note that we are retaining leadership in the CIS. This actually represents an assessment of our successful economic policy by the most authoritative economic forum of the world – the Davos Forum.

We already knew that we are on the right track. Our economic policy is manifested in real life. The public and political stability existing in Azerbaijan, the unity of the people and the government have contributed to the attraction of investments in the economic sphere and anxious investments by local investors in our country. Both foreign investors and local entrepreneurs are very confident of the future of our country, and this confidence is fully justified. It is no coincidence that $8.3 billion were invested in the country's economy in the first nine months of this year. Most of this is foreign investment.

The rest of the work will be done before the end of the year. I am sure that we will have even better economic indicators next year. The indicators for this year are also very positive. The results of nine months of the year show that there are excellent results in the international sphere, in all the areas related to domestic policy and economic policy. This shows once again that we are on the right track.

                            X X X

Addressing the event, Minister of Education Mikayil Jabbarov, chairman of Azeravtoyol Open Joint Stock Company Saleh Mammadov, and Director General of Baku Transport Agency Vusal Karimli highlighted the work done in the nine months of this year and outlined forthcoming tasks.

The head of state made a closing speech.

                 Closing speech by President Ilham Aliyev

- There is less than three months left for the end of the year. Over this period, all the issues stipulated in the State Investment Program must be resolved. The State Investment Program has been executed at the required level this year. Sufficient funds are envisaged. All the outlined issues should be resolved before the end of the year.

There are no financial problems. Budget indicators are good and are being fully implemented. Therefore, the implementation of the investment program will be ensured, of course. I have no doubt about that.

Initial proposals related to the State Investment Program of the next year are coming in. Next year, sufficient funds should be provided for the implementation of infrastructure projects and, at the same time, for the main issues on our country’s agenda. Therefore, I believe that next year's investment program can be approved before the end of the year. Next year's budget should be even bigger than the budget for this year. There are all the opportunities for that. This issue will be examined in the near future.

As you know, a lot is being done to develop entrepreneurship. This includes the provision of low-interest loans. This process has been going on for many years. Currently, practically the entire volume of concessional loans provided to entrepreneurs is formed from previously issued loans that have been repaid. A fairly large program is envisaged for this year. I have been informed. Most of this program has been completed. However, the National Foundation for Entrepreneurship Support still has enough funds – loans that have either not been distributed or issued. We must try to ensure that the envisaged lending is provided in full before the end of the year.

There was a report made here about the work done in connection with the road infrastructure. I should note that all the projects envisaged at the beginning of the year will certainly be implemented. In addition, as part of my trips to the regions during the year and as a result of the proposals coming from the ground, new road projects have also been launched. These are mainly rural roads and, at the same time, intercity roads. One of such projects is the Gakh-Zagatala-Balakan road project which was not planned on originally but was included in this year’s program and is now being implemented. The major overhaul of this road was not envisaged for this year, but this issue was raised during my trip to the region and a relevant instruction was issued. This project is being implemented now. A part of the Jalilabad-Yardimli road was overhauled in the previous period. However, this project remained unfinished. This issue was raised during my trip to the southern region and a relevant instruction was issued again. All necessary measures have been taken in connection with the full commissioning of the Jalilabad-Yardimli road. This will be the shortest route from Baku to Yardimli and other regions. It will connect many villages.

The road leading to our beautiful tourist area of Goygol remained unrenovated for many years. Having turned Goygol into a tourist center, we have achieved a large influx of tourists there. Of course, the road leading there must be repaired at the highest level. This instruction was also given. This issue was also raised during my visit to this region. During my recent trip to Shamakhi District, the issue of the road connecting Shamakhi and Lahij was resolved as well. A part of this road has already been put into operation and the rest will be commissioned in 2017 and 2018. Lahij is a unique settlement. Tens of thousands of tourists visit it every year. Both an alternative and the shortest road Shamakhi-Demirchi-Lahij will be built to Lahij now. This road also connects several villages.

I am saying this because we draft programs and allocate funds. However, new proposals come in during the year, and these proposals are always granted. Therefore, the main direction of our activity is to ensure the interests of the Azerbaijani people. Issues of concern to the people should be resolved soon. We should try to ensure that the proposals coming from everywhere are taken into account when the program of rural roads for the next year is prepared. Preliminary information has already been provided to me. Next year we will provide more villages with roads than this year although roads have been built to hundreds of villages this year as well. This process should be continued for several more years until there are no unrepaired or poor rural roads.

In my opening remarks, I noted that among infrastructure projects, land reclamation issues are now in the forefront. The implementation of these projects has already produced its effect. This year, we plan to provide water to new areas of 150,000 hectares, and we must achieve this goal. Next year, it is necessary to build canals to areas of at least 100,000 hectares which have not been irrigated before or their irrigation was not at the proper level, so that this process could go faster. Thus, the volume of irrigated land will grow every year. And this in itself will certainly ensure the rapid development of agriculture. In fact, this goal and this task were set in previous periods too. This should ensure the rapid development of agriculture.

Our land fund is limited. The accelerated development of agriculture will depend only on intensive methods. These, of course, include agrotechnical measures, the creation of laboratories, proper analysis of the soil – all these issues are provided by the Ministry of Agriculture – and irrigation issues. Therefore, reclamation measures should always be a priority in the State Investment Program for the next year and subsequent years.

I should also note that as a result of the proposals received from the ground, several important projects have been launched this year. The extension of the canal from the Shamkirchay water reservoir to Goranboy District, the continuation of the construction of the Neftchala water canal and other projects will ensure the supply of water to tens of thousands of hectares of new lands. Of course, the presence of the Takhtakorpu water reservoir and the construction of new canals will ensure the supply of water to large land plots in Khizi, Siyazan and Shabran districts.

Many important measures related to agriculture have been taken this year. I have chaired meetings on various sectors such as cotton-growing, silkworm breeding, tobacco-growing, hazelnut farming, rice-growing, citrus-growing, tea-growing. All these issues have been discussed quite broadly. State programs have been developed and approved, and all goals have been identified. These programs are very specific. They are envisage execution mechanisms and financial resources. Of course, the state budget for the next year should envisage the implementation of these programs.

I want to say again that all the figures were cited and goals set at these meetings. I do not want to repeat these figures and goals. The main thing is to ensure the mechanisms of very rapid execution of these programs and financial resources.

I think that this has been a record year in terms of the acquisition of agricultural machinery. This year, 8,000 units of equipment have already been imported. This year we were supposed to bring 10,000 units of equipment. The remaining equipment will probably be delivered before the end of the year. I must say that when I visit the regions, there are no complaints or additional suggestions related to equipment. We have practically resolved this issue too. Of course, it is necessary to continue to purchase special equipment for the development of certain branches of agriculture, and we will do so. But, in principle, I believe that we have fundamentally resolved this problem.

Rapid development of animal husbandry is also one of the priorities. A lot of work has been done in this direction this year, and it will continue to be done next year. Of course, the establishment of the Center for Artificial Insemination in Goygol District will attract the most progressive available practices to Azerbaijan. The improvement of local breeds and the acquisition of pedigree livestock will provide a comprehensive solution to the problem, and I am sure that we will be able to achieve even greater success in the field of milk and meat production in a few years. New dairy factories should be established in Azerbaijan because given the development we expect to achieve in the our industry, we can’t be pleased with the existing production capacities.

The construction of logistical centers has begun in the regions. In fact, we have been successfully addressing issues related to freezers, grain storage areas and other issues related to logistics for several years now. These issues have been resolved in practically all our regions. Now is the time to set up large export-oriented logistical centers. In previous periods we were doing this work more for the produce not to spoil, to be preserved and to meet the domestic demand. However, our export opportunities will grow. I will talk about that shortly. Under such circumstances, it is necessary to build large logistical centers. I saw one of them when I was in Shamkir District. In fact, the foundation of this logistical center was laid by me. I can say now that the biggest logistical center has been created in this region. I believe that we will need at least three large logistic centers in the future – in Central Aran, in the northern and southern zones. I am urging business people to contribute to these matters. The state will render its support, allocate loans and organize the necessary infrastructure, as it will be necessary for the development of a large export potential.

The construction of greenhouses has become widespread in Azerbaijan. I am very glad that my call and my recommendations are being implemented. According to the information provided to me recently, modern greenhouses are being established on an area of more than 400 hectares after we put forward this initiative. Some of them have been commissioned, but most of them are still being established. Now imagine that new greenhouses are being created on 400 hectares with a high yield. Most of these greenhouses are designed for exports, so our exports will increase even more. Of course, the creation of major logistical centers should be provided in accordance with this potential.

The process of creating 38 agro-parks is under way in our country. Two of them are already in operation. Work is under way in the remaining agro-parks. This work is under full control and I am regularly updated. I believe that the successful operation of these agro-parks will attract the attention of all our entrepreneurs. This is a very profitable sphere for entrepreneurs, for the state and for increasing our foreign exchange reserves.

Industrial estates are already being established. I talked about this at previous meetings several years ago: modern industrial zones should be created in every district. We are already achieving this. The Neftchala industrial estate has recently been opened. Industrial estates are being set up in Balakhani and Masalli. A large textile industry estate is being created in Mingachevir. An industrial estate is being established in Hajigabul District.

The Ministry of Economics has been instructed to begin specific work on the establishment of industrial estates in several districts next year. As was the case in Neftchala and other districts, the state will again assume the main burden. The entire infrastructure and all buildings – warehouses, production sites – will be built by the state. Let the entrepreneurs make proposals and monitor the market properly. Preference should be given to the areas in which we still depend on imports. So, first of all, it is necessary to analyze the imports and submit proposals related to the production of import-substituting products. Along with this, of course, the focus should be on the creation of the export potential. In other words, the main criteria for industrial zones should be domestic demand and exports. Therefore, it is necessary to properly analyze the export markets too – which products we can access the market with and which markets these are. It would not be good if such zones are created and produce goods which cannot be sold. Of course, businessmen living in the regions and in Baku should take an active part in this. These zones have a very large potential. I have repeatedly talked about this – we have several traditional industrial centers: the cities of Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja, and now Mingachevir and other regions. I believe that the creation of industrial zones will produce a good result in most districts.

About a year ago, perhaps even earlier, we started taking very serious steps to develop carpet-weaving. Ten 10 carpet factories will be commissioned this year. Two of them were opened with my participation and eight should be opened before the end of this year. The proposals made are being reviewed now and around 10 factories will be opened in the regions next year. These are very positive developments. Carpet-weaving is our national art. At the same time, carpets are products that have access to foreign markets, it is a sector that brings currency to our country, an area that eliminates unemployment, especially among women. Carpet-weaving has a great potential. The government has allocated funds. All these factories are built at the expense of the state. The machines and all other equipment are procured from public funds. We should create the entire production chain in a consistent manner. Therefore, an instruction has been given: stations for the reception of wool will be opened in different regions this and next year. This issue has been analyzed, and we saw that there is a chaotic situation here. We have stations for the reception of wool only in one or two places. In fact, they are in such a state that it would probably be better if they were not there at all. Therefore, new modern stations will be set up. Districts have been identified and funds provided. This is the first issue. Secondly, the construction of a spinning-dyeing factory is planned in the city of Sumgayit. Funds have been allocated for this purpose. I hope that the opening of the factory will take place next year so that we can put an end to external dependence both in terms of dyes and in terms of yarn. Of course, then we must ensure access to foreign markets. To do this, we probably need to participate in exhibitions and international events more actively. It is also necessary to take measures of advertising nature, so that Azerbaijan could present its national art to the world.

There is a revival in the construction sector. This has a positive impact on the construction materials sector. Next year, work in this area will go even faster. At present, 95 residential buildings are under construction in the city of Baku. These buildings are quite special because they will be erected on the site of unsuitable and emergency houses, in some cases even shacks. Those living there are paid compensation or money to rent housing. Then they will be provided with even more spacious apartments. One project has already been implemented. Those who lived there before and now are very satisfied. They have been provided with renovated, modern and more spacious apartments.

This is both a social and economic project. It has a major impact on the construction sector. At the same time, a large town is being built by the State Agency for Housing Construction in Yasamal District. The state budget for next year should envisage funds to ensure that this project is continued and a new project of the State Agency in Hovsan settlement is implemented.

The construction of “ASAN xidmət” centers continues. In the coming months, new centers will be opened in the cities of Mingachevir and Guba. Next year, we plan to open new centers in the cities of Sheki and Imishli. I believe that the construction of “ASAN xidmət” centers should begin in several more cities next year. This project has a huge impact. It is very popular with our people and its approval rating is close to 100 per cent. Therefore, we must try to ensure that "ASAN xidmət" operates in all our regions. We are approaching this.

ASAN is expanding its functions. Public utilities are provided now. "ABAD" centers are being created. When visiting Masalli and Balakan, I was familiarized with the products of local farmers. This is of great benefit. At the same time, the establishment of “ABAD” centers will also provide great support for the implementation of the self-employment program. As for the self-employment program, I gave instructions on this in previous meetings. The necessary amendments have been made to the legislation. The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population has amassed quite a large amount of money, which is spent on the self-employment program. Initial results have been positive. This issue is perceived with great interest on the ground. Of course, the government creates free opportunities for those in a dire situation, provides the resources for them to live at the right level.

The development of tourism is another reality. Over the past year or two, we have seen rapid development in this area. The tourism centers on the ground tell me that there is no room in hotels especially in the summer months and in the main tourist season. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the construction of new hotels. Local executive authorities should create conditions and allocate space, while the private sector should actively invest in this area.

There is monitoring in connection with the implementation of strategic roadmaps. I have been informed about the results of the monitoring. The monitoring shows that in some cases the implementation of planned measures is delayed. This should not be happening. All state bodies have received the instruction. Every state body knows what to do. Therefore, in some bodies the execution of strategic road maps is at 50 per cent, 70 per cent and in some cases 10 or 15 per cent. It is necessary to ask for an explanation of that. I am instructing the bodies that have committed delays to create a turnaround in a short time. In general, the adoption and announcement of strategic roadmaps is a very serious reform. A total of 164 priorities and 683 measures are envisaged. All of them must be resolved by 2020. Therefore, the results of monitoring on this issue should be analyzed. The bodies that have committed shortcomings should quickly rectify them. I will be regularly updated on that. Delays should be eliminated. Let the relevant state bodies draw the right conclusions.

And now I want to voice some figures related to our non-oil export, so that the Azerbaijani public could see the wonderful results of our work. These figures cover eight months. The indicators for nine months will probably become available after a while. In other words, the indicators for eight months will be brought to the attention of the Azerbaijani public now.

So, how much has our exports increased by? The export of vegetables by 68 per cent, including tomatoes by 60 per cent. Today, the export of tomatoes is the most profitable area of the non-oil sector. In eight months, this has brought the country $128 million, which is an increase by 59 per cent. The export of potatoes has increased by 63 per cent, of salad by 20 per cent, of onions 15 times. The export of cotton has increased 2.4 times, including cotton fiber 8.4 times, fruits by 12 per cent, but the export of apples and peaches has more than doubled. The export of dairy products has increased four times. The export of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages has increased by 28 per cent, including wine by 56 per cent. The export of fruit and vegetable processing products has increased by 50 per cent, tobacco products by 45 per cent, tea by 63 per cent, vegetable and animal oils by 19 per cent, and chocolate by 65 per cent.

Industrial products: the export of gold has increased by 56 per cent, electricity 4.1 times, aluminum by 28 per cent, chemical products by 25 per cent, plastic by 14 per cent, concentrates of copper ore by 94 per cent, equipment, mechanical installations by 48 per cent, copper and products made from it by 54 per cent, textile by 92 per cent, electrical equipment and parts by 75 per cent, stone, gypsum, cement 34 times.

These figures are the best indicator. They show that all our tasks related to the development of the non-oil sector are being successfully implemented. I noted in previous periods as well that our main priority is to develop the non-oil sector. For subsequent periods, the task is to achieve even greater growth in non-oil exports, and we are doing this. Such are the prospects for our development. Exports of non-oil products bring us large amounts of currency. This is only the first stage of our work. The new agricultural estates and greenhouses, the development of animal husbandry, our policy of industrialization will give even greater results in the future. When I always say that I am optimistic of the future development of our country, this is what I take into consideration.

The public and political situation in our country can also serve as an example for many countries. The unity between the people and the government is as strong as ever. Our economic indicators – these figures were announced today – are exemplary for any country. Our prospects are the development of industry and agriculture, the implementation of infrastructure projects, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and the Southern Gas Corridor projects, the development of the Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli fields. And these are only the main directions.

Therefore, I am sure that our country will successfully develop not only until the end of this year, but also in the years to come. Azerbaijan will always be on top. Thank you.

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