By Nigar Abbasova
The development of the country’s regions remains among the issues of top priority for the government of Azerbaijan, as well as an important component of sustainable socio-economic development.
Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev, addressing a conference dedicated to the results of the State Program on Socio-Economic Development of the Regions of Azerbaijan in 2014-2018 on January 30, said that so far 4 billion manats ($ 2.08 billion) have been invested in the development of the regions.
“On the basis of 67 orders signed by President Ilham Aliyev and visits to the regions, 261 million manats ($ 136.1 million) were allocated to accelerate the socio-economic development of cities and regions, and implement several important projects,” he noted.
Mustafayev went on saying that 850 kilometer highways, 27 bridges and underpasses were constructed and overhauled in 2016.
“Last year, we commissioned one power plant, constructed and overhauled 784 transformers and 46 substations and laid 7,422 kilometer power lines. Also, we laid and overhauled 8,200 kilometer gas lines, while some 209 settlements in 36 regions were provided with natural gas and the level of gasification reached 92 percent. As many as 825 water supply lines and 541 kilometer sewage lines were laid. Besides, we constructed 27 reservoirs and drilled 32 artesian wells. We implemented a water supply project in 5 cities with a population of over 120,000 people and set up a modular water purifier, covering 100,000 people in 56 populated areas.”
The minister noted that some 147 new industrial enterprises were established in the country.
“We continue implementation of measures on the expansion of production in the sphere of agriculture. Some 32 farm enterprises in 20 regions were created by entrepreneurs. We created agro parks in Shamkir and Yalama.
We completed work within the first stage of the development of Yalama Agro Park, and reached a record level of yield in winter crop, while each hectare provided for some 156 centners of high-quality production. Work within the first stage is underway in Shamkir Agro Park.
In tote, the level of self-sufficiency on over 60 percent of main food and non-food stuff stood at 100 percent. In the coming years, we plan to minimize the level of import-dependence and increase export potential by means of modern enterprises, agro parks, large farms, gardening enterprises and greenhouses,” he said.
‘Made in Azerbaijan’
Talking about promotional measures for “Made in Azerbaijan” brand, Mustafayev said that 3 export missions have already been realized.
“As a result of the taken measures, we launched export of our production to new markets such as China (export of wine) and UAE (food-stuff). We have held 10 meetings of the “Exporters club”, established associations of producers and exporters of wine, pomegranate, hazelnut, fruit and vegetables, building materials. Also, we launched export.az portal to expand relations with foreign partners, and enter foreign markets. Besides,” he said.
Mustafayev also noted in total, the export of vegetables increased by 41 percent, fruits – by 25 percent, cotton yarn – by 11 percent in 2016.
In late 2016, with a view to bring the economy to a new level Azerbaijan started promoting the ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ brand in foreign markets.
Azerbaijan is sending trade missions to various countries since November 2016 to increase its exports. Missions have already been organized to China, UAE, and Germany, while the list of planned destinations for 2017 includes Qatar, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The country outputs more than 250 kinds of home-made products in food, light, heavy and construction industries.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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