By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ), the state mechanism whereby the country's energy-related earnings are accumulated and efficiently managed, plans to launch an automated reporting system in the extractive industry.
"The agenda includes the issue of moving from annually published paper reports to systematic disclosure of information on a single website by introducing an automated reporting system to relevant government bodies (the so-called mainstreaming)," a source in the Fund told Trend.
With the technical and financial support from the Asian Development Bank, the work is underway to define a mechanism for disclosing information about beneficial owners in the extractive industry.
After Azerbaijan’s withdrawal from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in March 2017, the newly established Extractive Industries Transparency Commission, which published reports for 2016 and 2017, is in the process of preparing a report covering 2018.
The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan established in 1999 with the assets of $271 million aims at efficient accumulation of resources and placement of assets abroad, as well as for the preservation and multiplication of funds received from the effective management of oil revenues in order to minimize the negative effect to the economy, prevention of "Dutch disease" to some extent, promotion of resource accumulation for future generations and support of current social and economic processes in Azerbaijan.
SOFAZ revenues are formed primarily from revenues from the sale of oil, which remains at the disposal of Azerbaijan in accordance with production-sharing agreements.
Budget revenues of SOFAZ reached 17.6 billion manats ($10.36 billion) in 2018, which is a 31.1 percent increase compared to 2017. As much as 10.9 billion manats ($6.41 billion) were transferred to the state budget.
Speaking about support of the Asian Development Bank, it is important to note that ADB’s main objective is to facilitate the economic development of member countries and to help alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of the population.
In general, ADB has provided a $5.1 billion of loans, guarantees, grants and technical assistance for Azerbaijan so far.
ADB’s program for Azerbaijan during 2011–2017 consisted of 47 projects. Energy was the largest sector supported, accounting for 42 percent ($2.1 billion) of total financing, followed by transport with 27 percent ($1.4 billion).
The Asian Development Bank will allocate $815 million from its credit resources to Azerbaijan in 2019-2021. This is stated in the bank's three-year business plan. The bank will allocate $ 250 million to the country in 2019, $265 million in 2020, and $300 million in 2021.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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