By Rasana Gasimova
Newly-appointed Economy Minister Mikail Jabbarov, who is known for his reforms, has called on the government to take measures to promote the development of private entrepreneurship in the country, while discussing Azerbaijan’s draft state budget for 2020 at a plenary meeting of the Parliament on November 12.
Jabbarov said that one of the main tasks of the government today is effective management of state property.
“State-owned companies should have an accurate and clear strategy; they should not become a burden for the state budget. New standards must be applied to this area,” Jabbarov emphasized.
He stressed the importance of completing the recovery of the banking sector and ensuring business access to finance.
In 2020, the Azerbaijani government plans to direct 245 million manats ($144.1 million) to financing of mortgages and construction of social housing, Finance Minister Samir Sharifov said in the same meeting.
"Next year, we are planning to direct 245 million manats to finance mortgages, construct social housing and provide apartments to military personnel," Sharifov said.
He said that in 2020, the state budget’s social expenses will amount to 10 billion 642 million manats, which is 2 billion 874 million manats more than those of 2019.
Addressing the meeting, Speaker Ogtay Asadov said that important structural reforms are underway in the country. As a result of these reforms, Azerbaijan ranked among the 20 most successful reformer countries in the latest World Bank report.
Asadov stressed that over the past nine months, Azerbaijan’s GDP grew by 2.5 percent, adding that the country’s non-oil industry is rapidly developing.
He went on to say that Azerbaijan’s strategic currency reserves exceeded $ 48 billion.
“Over the nine months of 2019, household incomes grew by 8.9 percent, whereas inflation amounted to 2.6 percent. This which indicates increased prosperity,” he said.
Ziyad Samedzade, the Chairman of the Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Committee of the Azerbaijani Parliament said that reforms carried out in recent years, particularly the fight against the "shadow economy", are yielding results. This is also observed in tax and customs revenues.
He added that over the past nine months, the country’s nominal GDP growth amounted to 1.2 percent. This indicator for the non-oil sector amounted to 7.6 percent. Growth in tax revenues amounted to 5.7 percent.
Samedzade noted that the forecast for the corresponding period of 2019 was fulfilled by 104.9 percent, by 95.9 percent in the oil sector, and by 109.5 percent in the non-oil sector.
He informed that the number of active VAT payers increased by 32.9 percent as of November compared to January 2019.
Samedzade also said that Azerbaijan’s state budget has increased significantly in recent years.
He added that Azerbaijan must be able to take more decisive steps towards improving defense capability, economic power and improving the population’s living standards.
Earlier, it was noted that Azerbaijan’s State Budget for 2020 will be the country’s largest projected budget since 1991.
Azerbaijan’s state budget revenues for 2020 are projected to amount to 24 billion 134.5 million manats ($14 billion 196.4 million manats), while expenses are expected to reach 26 billion 913.7 million manats ($15 billion 831.6 million)
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