President Aliyev: East-West, North-South routes to stretch through Azerbaijan
Very serious actions related to a more efficient operation of the transport corridors must be taken in 2016, President Ilham Aliyev said in his concluding speech at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.
President Aliyev chaired the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers Jan. 10 dedicated to the results of socioeconomic development of 2015 and objectives for the future.
"Serious actions were taken in late 2015,” the president said. “The Coordinating Council was established for the transportation of transit goods through the territory of Azerbaijan. This is a very serious step. The Coordinating Council brings together all structures associated with transport."
"A common tariff policy is being conducted and must be conducted. At the same time these issues were discussed with the leadership of Georgia and Turkey,” Ilham Aliyev said.
“Azerbaijan has offered to conduct a single tariff policy for this corridor with Georgia and Turkey. It is necessary for all the relevant structures to conduct a common policy and this corridor to become even more attractive. If only we make concessions in the tariff policy, as opposed to the neighboring countries, there will be no effect," he added.
The president further said that serious negotiations were held with potential shippers.
"These issues were widely discussed as part of my state visit to China in late 2015. The first container train has been already launched from China to Azerbaijan through this corridor,” said Ilham Aliyev.
“I am confident that we will achieve the transportation of larger volumes of goods via this corridor in the future as the shortest route passes through the territory of Azerbaijan,” the president said.
“There is infrastructure, we have created it, namely, the railway and sea transport. A new commercial port is being built. It has been partially put into operation. Moreover, the public is well aware that as a result of worsening of the Turkey-Russia relations, the movement of Turkish heavy vehicles to the Central Asia, Kazakhstan has become complicated. Azerbaijan has immediately offered its capabilities, we've granted privileges. Today the corridor has been working in this direction as well."
“Azerbaijan must be better prepared for this,” the president said. “Of course, the infrastructure, located on the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, must be also better prepared for this.”
Ilham Aliyev stressed that the remaining section of the Baku-Astara railway must be constructed in 2016.
He further said that there are still 8 kilometers remaining, and the section will be built in 2016. The president said that talks have already been held with Iran, adding that the route itself is very important.
"This will turn Azerbaijan into a very important partner of the North-South corridor. Thus, all the routes, namely, the East-West and the North-South will stretch through Azerbaijan," said Ilham Aliyev. "This will ensure our political and economic interests. The coordination work should be conducted with all relevant structures."
Developing agro sector
Azerbaijan should improve the export capacity as agricultural products will be the country’s main export products besides oil and gas in the future, President Ilham Aliyev said.
"Azerbaijan should look for new markets especially taking into account that the country has access to the traditional markets,” the president said.
He further noted that Russia is the main market for Azerbaijani agricultural products.
"There is a greater demand for Azerbaijani products in Russia today. Azerbaijan must ensure this demand and enter the Russian market with a greater production volume. At the same time, Kazakhstan has built a modern logistics center. It is almost ready. Azerbaijan will start exporting its food products to Kazakhstan in the near future," Ilham Aliyev said.
"The Middle East countries are interested in Azerbaijani products as well. This issue is discussed during the visits, and Azerbaijan must enter these markets too, because the country’s qualitative products are of great interest," President Aliyev said.
For Azerbaijan is it necessary to enter the traditional markets with a larger volume and supply the products to new markets, he added.
"It is also necessary to establish industrial parks and industrial clusters,” Aliyev said. “The industrial zones must be established in all districts. I would like work in this direction to go faster, so that we could see results. We've been long talking about this and there are no results yet. Central executive bodies, bodies responsible for this area, in particular, local executive bodies, must actively work. They must organize this, allocate areas, and create conditions. This is their job."
The president said the country’s local executive bodies must work even more effectively, and came out with an initiative rather waiting for instructions.
”This is their daily work. Economic and industrial potential of each region must be strengthened. There are necessary capabilities, but most of the country’s districts live on grants. In the previous years, we could turn a blind eye on that - we've been getting big revenues and we've offered grants. But why do our districts should exist through grants?"
"Population of our regions, on average, isn't so big," said Ilham Aliyev. "If they work more efficiently, in terms of economy, they can cover all the expenses. But they're waiting for the funds to be allocated. The funds are allocated anyway. The roads, gas, water communications are laid at public funds. Even meters are installed at public finance. Which country installs meters at public funds?"
Aliyev went on to add that all infrastructure projects are being implemented and big investments are made.
"The tourism infrastructure of tourism is being created. Who creates this? The government and private companies do. They must work more effectively at places. I set the task before them to provide information on conducted work, newly created jobs, and established enterprises on a quarterly basis. Let them also make conclusions. The country will continue to conduct its policy and make necessary investments, but I am sure that all Azerbaijani districts can work more efficiently and there will be even better results.”
The president further spoke about industrial zones in the country's districts.
“I have repeatedly raised the issue of establishing the industrial zones in the districts,” the president said. “Only one pilot project is being implemented in the Neftchala district at present. Why aren't they implemented in other districts? The reason is indifference. This must not be allowed."
"This is the task of every head of the executive power. Those who cannot cope with this task will be dismissed," Ilham Aliyev said.
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