Minister: National GDP up by 5.6 pct in 2021 [PHOTO]
By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan's Labour and Social Security Minister Sahil Babayev has said that the country's GDP increased by 5.6 percent last year, as a result of the measures taken by the government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic since the early days.
He made the remarks during the Azerbaijan-UAE Small and Medium Enterprise Forum held in Dubai as part of the 11th Annual Investment Conference on "investing in sustainable innovation for a bright future".
The minister noted that over the past three years the country has implemented three packages of social reforms with an annual financial cost of AZN 6.5 billion ($3.8 bn) and covering half of the country's population. He added that as a result of social reforms, social payments increased by 65 percent, the minimum pension by 2.2 times, the average pension by 60 percent, the minimum wage by 2.3 times and the annual wage fund more than doubled.
Moreover, Babayev briefed on DOST centers created to provide transparent and efficient social services from a single platform. In this regard, he stressed that innovative achievements have contributed to improving the quality and modernization of social services.
Noting that 110 of the ministry's 170 services are provided digitally, Babayev also emphasized the importance of the electronic employment system created in recent years. He stated that the country has an employment-oriented economic development policy, supports micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and has a Tripartite Commission on Social and Economic Issues consisting of government, employer and worker representatives.
Furthermore, mentioning that more than 48,000 families have started their own farms and businesses with the support of the self-employment program in the past five years, he noted that the participation of the World Bank and UNDP in the program has increased its success.
Babayev also briefed on the reconstruction and restoration work carried out in the country's liberated lands.
Additionally, Babayev expressed confidence that the development of business relations between the two countries will make an important contribution to further strengthening cooperation and human capital development.
Speaking at the same event, Azerbaijan's Agency for Small and Medium Business Development board chairman Orkhan Mammadov briefed on economic and trade relations between the two countries, cooperation with energy and relevant agencies of the UAE in the field of SMBs and the support provided to local and foreign businessmen.
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry head of international offices Omar Khan stated that Azerbaijan and the UAE have great potential for cooperation in the field of SMBs, noting that the Chamber is ready to support joint initiatives in this direction.
The event held in Azerbaijan's pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 aimed to discuss opportunities for SMBs, provide a joint platform for them to network and exchange ideas.
The forum continued with panel discussions on the prospects for joint business initiatives.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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