By Nigar Orujova
The change in the manat rate has thrown population into confusion as prices in shops and markets have flown up immediately. While the increase in prices of imported products was expected, prices for the local production also raised.
President Ilham Aliyev, addressing the recent Cabinet meeting, emphasized that increasing prices for products manufactured in Azerbaijan is impossible in general. The head of state stressed the need to control consumer prices seriously.
Whilst Azerbaijan is providing itself with some food products, it cannot fully provide itself with domestic goods and needs import. Some bargainers want to use this situation and artificially raise prices for the local products.
“However, the price increase for the goods produced in Azerbaijan is, in general, impossible and shouldn't take place,” the head of state said. “I know that some dishonorable people, bargainers want to abuse this issue with the rate. This must end. Artificial increase in prices must be stopped.”
The president has threatened lawbreakers with very severe penalties not limited by fines. “Let the prosecution authorities get engaged in that seriously. Very severe penalties must be applied to those who want to use the situation for their own benefit, and it should be covered by the press in order to put an end to it.”
The stringent measures of the state will force entrepreneurs to abandon attempts to artificially inflate the price of local products, economist Vugar Bayramov told Day.az.
Bayramov noted that the increase of prices for local products is wrong in economic terms. Explaining his point, Bayramov said that even cost of imported products calculated not only in dollars but also in manats. This part of their value in manats should not rise.
“That is, if the price of the local product has risen 50 percent, it can be regarded as artificially inflated prices,” he stressed, adding that this is due to the desire of several individuals to take advantage of the change in exchange rate of the manat for artificial profit, and artificial overpricing is prohibited by the Azerbaijani legislation.
Bayramov further added that pensions and salaries of citizens will be really protected.
The issue of increasing pensions and salaries was on the agenda before the second devaluation of the manat, he said, but now it is even more updated.
“According to our data, the Finance Ministry is preparing the relevant draft. In the near future, the corresponding amendments will be made into the state budget, and the issue for increasing these payments will be determined there,” the economist said. “We think increase increase of wages and pensions by 25 percent. The country has necessary financial basis to do this, and it is expected that pensions and salaries of citizens will be really protected.”
The important decisions announced by the president at the meeting are what the people were expecting for, MP Azay Guliyev told Trend. He noted these decisions as a crisis management program.
MP Fazail Agamali, in turn, said that 80 percent of Azerbaijani citizens engaged in trade are taking advantage of the situation and artificially inflate prices.
He added that those who are trying to make a profit by putting people in a tight squeeze should be called to account under not only the Code of Administrative Offences, but also the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’ staff journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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