By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The social policy of Azerbaijan is aimed at ensuring the utter welfare of the country’s citizens.
In 2018, the self-employment program in Azerbaijan covered 6,000 families, which were given assets to create small and medium-sized enterprises, Sahil Babayev, Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population, said at a meeting related to the country’s socio-economic sphere.
He noted that, according to the presidential decree, appropriate changes were made in connection with the Unemployment Insurance Fund. As a result, it is planned to cover 10,000 families with a self-employment program.
Babayev mentioned that the number of appeals related to joining this program is increasing, and in January-June, this figure reached 45,000.
He emphasized that the vulnerable segments of the population have the greatest advantage, including people with disabilities, martyrs families and internally displaced persons.
Since the beginning of 2019, more than 4,000 people have been trained, of which 1,100 received assets under the program. In addition, the project of the UN Development Program is involved in this activity, within which about 1,000 families will get finances.
Babayev noted that negotiations in this direction with the World Bank are at the final stage.
He further said that in September the WB will present “Supporting self-employment in Azerbaijan” project to the Azerbaijani government, and next year this project will be brought to work in the country.
"We believe that this project will contribute to the expansion of the self-employment program. The January-June results show that the population is successfully using the self-employment program," he said.
Babayev also said that another Center for Sustainable and Operational Social Security (DOST) will start operating till late 2019.
As he noted, today, the work is underway to open three more DOST centers.
Babayev added that as many as 126 types of services are rendered in DOST centers established in Azerbaijan upon the president’s order.
“Three more centers may open till late 2019 or in the first quarter of 2020, which will cover about 80 percent of Baku’s population. The work in this sphere is also planned to be carried out in the country’s regions," he pointed out.
The DOST centers are created to provide a significant part of state social services (labor and employment, types of social security, pensions, social insurance and other services) through simplified operational procedures.
The first DOST center under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population was opened in May 2019 in Yasamal district, Baku.
In addition, Babayev noted that from the beginning of this year, as many as 2.3 billion manats ($1.35 billion) has been allocated in Azerbaijan to increase wages and pensions of citizens.
The minister noted that two social packages were adopted in this connection.
He informed that the funds allocated within the first social package amounted to 1.6 billion manats ($941 million) and they reached three million citizens. Due to this, he added, wages and pensions of citizens were increased.
Babayev said that the introduction of the second social package is expected in the near future, and work is currently being completed in this direction.
"In accordance with this, from September 1, 2019, the minimum wage will be 250 manats ($147). At the same time, the salary of 400,000 workers of various categories in the public sector will increase in volume from 20 to 50 percent," the minister concluded.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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