By Nigar Abbasova
The further development of non-oil sector remains one of the main priorities for Azerbaijan, as the government seeks to diversify economy and improve business climate in the country.
Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said that since April some 62 projects received investment promotion documents worth about 787 million manats ($492.8 million). The minister added that the provision of the document for some nine projects worth 55 million manats ($34.4 million) is currently under consideration.
Mustafayev made the remarks addressing the “Non-oil exports: today's challenges and opportunities” conference on October 19.
Under the document, half of the revenue of an individual entrepreneur, profits of legal entity are exempted from income tax for seven years. Import of equipment for the implementation of the projects is also exempt of VAT and customs duties.
The minister also spoke about the measures realized in the country to stimulate and support business environment. He mentioned that National Fund for Entrepreneurship (NFES) have already provided credits on easy terms worth some 2 billion manats ($1.25 billion), while financial means allocated by the Fund allowed to implement about 32.000 projects in different spheres of economy. The issuance of loans for entrepreneurs is carried out through authorized banks and non-bank credit organizations.
Moreover, certain processes were implemented to facilitate registration process of goods, eliminate various bureaucratic obstacles, and save time.
Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee Shahin Bagirov, in turn, said the country will significantly reduce the number of documents required for the export of production, mentioning that the committee is currently in talks with the ministry of economy.
The export of agricultural products is expected to be a locomotive for non-oil sector exports as Azerbaijan possesses a huge potential in the sphere. Good climatic conditions and suitable soils are determining factors that allow the development of the sphere. The country plans to increase exports of agricultural products by entering the traditional markets with a larger volume and supplying the products to new markets.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Seyfaddin Talibov addressing the event said some 31.9 percent of goods exported by Azerbaijan fell to a share of agricultural products in the first nine months of 2016, mentioning that some 90 percent of local agricultural production is exported to Russia. He also said that the share of fruit and vegetables accounted for only 31 percent of the total volume of the export of agricultural products in 2010, while the figure currently stands at 80-90 percent.
Mustafayev further spoke about the steps taken to promote “Made in Azerbaijan” brand in the world market. One of the mechanisms that will be directed at raising awareness about the brand is sending export missions to foreign countries.
Mustafayev said that the first export mission to China (Hong Kong and Guangzhou) is expected in November 2016. In addition, Azerbaijan’s Economy Ministry will help the country’s entrepreneurs to promote their products in various retailer chains such as Carrefour, as well as in duty-free shops at the airports of the world. Moreover, entrepreneurs will get a chance to demonstrate their production in exhibitions held in Dubai, Moscow, Habsburg, and Dusseldorf.
Azerbaijan exported output worth some $6.5 billion in January-September 2016, while the major share (some 76 percent) of export fell to a share of oil and petrochemical production.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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