By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed on October 16 a decree on additional measures in the field of protection of social welfare of the population, Azertag has reported.
Under the document, the Cabinet of Ministers was instructed to prepare and submit to the president the proposals for reflecting increase of social benefits, wages and salaries in the draft state budget for 2022.
The decree was adopted to mitigate the negative effects of the processes in international markets on domestic prices and to strengthen the social protection of the population, especially the most vulnerable groups.
The presidential decree can also be considered as an important step to compensate the hike in gas and electricuty prices and a factor demonstrating that a citizen and his well-being are at the center of state policy.
Citizen well-being at center of state policy
Improving the welfare of the country's population is one of the important priorities of socio-economic policy. In recent years, significant progress has been made in this direction, consistent steps have been taken to strengthen the social protection of the population, increase social payments and salaries. For this purpose, two social reform envelopes were adopted and implemented in 2019, increasing the amount of benefits and pensions by an average of 92 per cent, the minimum pension by 72 per cent, the minimum wage by 92 per cent, and the salaries of state-funded organizations by an average of 50 per cent, the text of the decree said.
As a result of the measures taken, compared to the beginning of 2018, the average monthly nominal salary increased by 39 percent, the average amount of pensions by 60 percent, the average amount of social benefits by 2 times, and the average amount of pensions by the Azerbaijani president by by 2.2 times, the document noted.
The document stressed that in 2021, Azerbaijan confidently returned to the path of economic recovery, leaving behind the shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the development of pandemic vaccines worldwide, the implementation of comprehensive and effective socio-economic measures by the state to protect the Azerbaijani people from this disease in the country, especially a large-scale vaccination campaign, as well as financial and social support for socially vulnerable groups in 2020. It was also possible due to the provision of tax and bank-credit benefits to entrepreneurs and organizations operating in the economic spheres affected by the pandemic.
At the same time, it should be noted that the recovery trends in the world economy are strengthening.
However, the recovery of global economic activity and the fact that the pace of growth in aggregate demand significantly exceeded the rate of return of suspended production, transport, logistics and supply capacity to economic turnover, created new challenges, causing significant rise in prices for many commodities in international markets.
This situation leads to an increase in the prices of imported goods, including a number of food products, and, as a result, has a negative impact on the welfare of the most socially vulnerable groups.
Tariff Council decision
Earlier on October 16, Azerbaijan’s Tariff (Price) Council amended its decision "On regulation of domestic electricity tariffs", raising electricity and gas prices.
Under the amendments, the existing differentiation of tariffs for the population was changed (up to 300 and more than 300 kWh).
Tariffs for the population are set at eight qapiks per 1 kWh for consumption up to 200 kWh, nine qapiks / kWh for consumption from 200 kWh to 300 kWh (including 300 kWh), and 13 qapiks / kWh for consumption over 300 kWh.
In addition, tariffs for consumption of up to 1,200 cubic meters of gas per year have been increased from 10 to 12 qapiks.
The monthly gas consumption in the consumer basket per capita is set at 21 cubic meters. Considering that the average family consists of four people, this means consumption of about 1,000 cubic meters of gas per year. The direct impact of the new tariffs on the monthly consumer basket of a family of four when paying for consumed gas will amount to 1.72 manats ($1.01).
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz