By Nigar Abbasova
The government of Azerbaijan, which pays a special attention to the diversification of its energy-based economy, established a number of enterprises in non-oil sector in 2016.
Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said that some 410 enterprises were set up in the country last year. The minister, addressing a board meeting, said that construction of certain industrial enterprises was launched in 2016, while the work is underway on the development of industrial zones and parks.
“This year, as many as 4 enterprises will become operational in Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park. In 2018, we will launch three additional enterprises. Almost 800 new working places are planned to be opened in these enterprises,” he said.
The Ministry also works to attract new residents to the park, he said noting that candidacy of two enterprises is currently under consideration.
Mustafayev also highlighted successful operation of Baku Shipyard, which is a resident of Garadagh Industrial Park.
“In 2016, the shipyard commissioned three passenger vessels, with a capacity of 80 people each. Also, a tugboat with a driving force of 50 tons was constructed at the plant. The biggest contract of the plant is designing and construction of “Khankendi” vessel (worth some $378 million) for BP Company,” he said.
The vessel has been specifically designed and built to install the subsea structures of the giant Shah Deniz Stage 2 gas development project.
Besides, the plant also signed a contract with Azerbaijan’s Caspian Marine Services on the construction of two barges, worth $82 million and 2 oil-bearing tankers with estimated worth of $28 million.
“We have also developed a plan of integrated actions on the development of the aluminum industry. We consider a construction of an industrial park in Ganja (second largest city of Azerbaijan), which will be engaged in this sphere,” he noted.
The minister went on saying that the ministry has issued investment incentive documents worth more than 1 billion manats for the implementation of 91 projects.
“The projects cover 8 economic districts of the country, while only 1.1 percent of them is being implemented in Baku, some 37.4 in settlements of Absheron peninsula and 61.5 percent in other cities and regions of the country. Some 38.5 percent of projects are in the sphere of agriculture, 61.5 in industrial sphere,” he said.
Under the document of investment incentives, 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 from VAT and customs duties.
Talking about other measures taken to stipulate development of entrepreneurship, Mustafafayev said that easy credits worth 190 million manats ($102.37 million) were granted to entrepreneurs in 2016. He added that the National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support (NFES) plans to issue easy credits worth 150 million manats ($ 80.82 million) this year, while the financial means will be provided by means of returned credits.
“Implementation of projects realized by means of easy credits last year allowed to open some 8,100 new working places. So far, 32,700 entrepreneurs have received credits worth over 2 billion manats ($ 1.07 billion),” he said.
As for Azerbaijan’s exports, Mustafayev recalled that the head of state ordered to increase export of local production, particularly agricultural goods twofold.
To reach the goal, the ministry has already conducted an analysis on some 54 types of products, including dairy and meat production, vegetables, fruit, honey, wine and others.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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