By Ofeliya Afandiyeva
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will allocate $88.2 million for the purchase of relevant equipment and supplies, in addition to $57.1 million allocated earlier to help the country fight coronavirus (COVID-19), the president’s official website reported.
The $145.3 allocated for the purchase of supplies and equipment are not included into the 1.4-billion-dollar relief package.
“There will not be any cuts in the social program by the end of 2020. In the contrary, the total coronavirus relief package is estimated at 2.5 billion AZN [$1.4 billion]. But it will be more than that. Some 97 billion AZN [$57.1 million] was recently allocated from the presidential reserve fund for the purchase of necessary equipment and supplies alone. It is planned to allocate another 150 million AZN [$88.2 million] by the end of the year. This is not within the $1.4 billion. All social payments are made. I think that the increase in the average monthly salary by 28 percent and the average pension by about 27 percent shows that positive work is being done in this direction,” the president said addressing the government session on the socio-economic results of the first quarter of 2020 through videoconference on April 14.
Moreover, the president spoke about the state help to the unemployed.
“Over 600,000 people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and are receiving state support. A significant part of the salaries of these people is paid by the state. At the same time, the problems of the unemployed are being solved, and those who have lost their jobs are already registering their names en masse. Here, too, we must be very careful and avoid abuse. This applies to both citizens and government agencies. Only people who have really lost their jobs or are not working should be helped. Because, according to the information given to me, the dynamics of appeals in recent days is very fast, and this raises some doubts. Government agencies have ample opportunity to investigate this issue and provide assistance to those in need.”
He noted that the number of people receiving targeted social assistance has increased in recent months in compliance with his instructions, and now exceeds 70,000.
"Now our average monthly salary is $419.5, the average pension is $173.8. The old-age pension is about $194.4. That is, we increase salaries and pensions from year to year. Of course, last year there was a huge increase, 4.2 million people benefited from the programs adopted by the state. This year, the construction of all social infrastructure facilities will be carried out without reduction. At least 7,000 IDP families will be relocated to new apartments and at least 1,500 families of martyrs will be provided with new apartments," Aliyev stressed.
At the same time, the head of the state gave instructions to the government to minimize the impact of the pandemic on the economic situation and highlighted that 2020 would also be marked by deep reforms covering many areas.
In addition, during the video conference, Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov delivered a report on the current economic and financial state in the country and steps aimed at boosting actions in coronavirus fight.
“In line with the president’s instructions, the priority of expenditures was re-evaluated in the amount of $795.7 million to finance measures to reduce the negative impact of coronavirus on the economy from the state budget at the expense of the President's reserve fund and other reserve sources,” Sharifov said.
“Part of the $206 million will be used to purchase a number of necessary medical supplies and equipment, pay special allowances and benefits to medical workers and volunteers working in public and private medical institutions, expand disinfection in the country and finance other medical needs,” the minister added.
Note that the video conference was attended by Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov, Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank Elman Rustamov, Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population Sahil Babayev and Minister of Agriculture Inam Karimov. The officials delivered reports on the relevant data recorded in the first quarter of 2020 in Azerbaijan.
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