By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan’s National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support (NFES) under the Economy Ministry allocated preferential loans in the amount of 123 million manats ($76 million) for entrepreneurs since early 2016.
These funds were allocated to 1,863 entrepreneurs, Arif Valimammadov, Deputy Executive Director of NFES, noted while addressing the business forum in the country's Samukh region on October 20.
Velimuradov noted that to date the entrepreneurs from Ganja-Gazakh economic region have received from the Fund soft loans of 223.7 million manats ($138 million). They were aimed at funding more than 6,000 investment projects.
Within the Samukh forum, 53 entrepreneurs were granted preferential loans in the amount of 646,000 manats ($399,000) through authorized credit organizations.
These loans will be directed for development of animal husbandry, beekeeping, vegetable growing, horticulture, viticulture and other sectors. These projects are expected to create some 60 new jobs.
The National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support was established in 1992. Loans are allocated to entrepreneurs through authorized banks and non-bank lenders.
Until the end of 2016, NFES plans to provide 250 million manats ($155 million) of preferential loans to businessmen. Some 70 million manats ($44 million) of the loans will be granted at the expense of budgetary funds.
Allocation of these soft loans is directed at countering the effect of the global economic crisis to the Azerbaijani economy and minimization of the country’s dependence on the oil sector by improving other industries throughout Azerbaijan. The country takes steps to diversify the national economy and provide for the development of the agricultural and other spheres.
Recently, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on improvement of the Fund's activity. Under the decree, a responsibility of controlling the process of return of soft loans by entrepreneurs has been transferred from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan to the Financial Markets Supervision Chamber.
Currently, Azerbaijan ranks 63 out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, and work to improve this index even more is being implemented.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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