- First of all, I want to congratulate you on the Day of the Republic. It is a great holiday, the Republic Day, the Independence Day. An official ceremony was held in Baku yesterday, and today I came to Neftchala to celebrate this holiday. Today, on this wonderful holiday, the Heydar Aliyev Center opens in Neftchala. This event is also symbolic, because Heydar Aliyev is the founder of our independence. It is thanks to his activities and efforts that Azerbaijan strengthened its independence and has been successfully developing for more than 20 years.
This beautiful Center pleases the eye. He has a very beautiful appearance and interior design, and it has been built with taste. At the same time, the functional characteristics of the Centre are also very positive. There are excellent facilities for conducting various activities here. Various clubs, foreign language courses and a computer center will operate at the Center. In short, this place will be a real center. I am sure that the people of Neftchala District, young people will make the best use of this center.
This part of Neftchala is improving and becoming prettier, creative work is under way in the district center. I would like work in each village to be done on the same level. That is our main goal. This goal was behind the adoption of regional development programs. Each district should be developing. Creative work should be done in every district and village.
Today, on Independence Day, we reevaluate the work done again and, of course, express your opinion about it. Yesterday, at the official reception, I voiced my thoughts about our plans for the future and do not want to repeat that. Being here today, I want to say a few more words about the development of the regions. The adopted programs are being implemented. This is a very positive phenomenon. I can say that two programs have been over-fulfilled. Currently, the third program is under way. It will be fully implemented by 2018. By that time the main infrastructure projects must be completed in all our districts. I am confident that we will achieve that, as these are very specific programs. We have the financial capacity to implement the programs.
Today, Azerbaijan's financial situation is such that we are able to realize and implement any project ourselves. To do this, funds are allocated from the state budget. The issues related to regional development are being resolved. The main thing is to complete the work on time and with good quality. I am confident that we will achieve that and the implementation of infrastructure projects will be completed in all our regions in 2018. In Neftchala District, too, the projects awaiting their execution will be implemented.
The primary focus should be on building roads. To this end, funds were allocated two years ago for the construction of a road linking several villages, and this project has been implemented. There are plans to overhaul the Salyan-Neftchala highway. Current repairs have now been conducted, but this road will be overhauled, and we will start this soon. Most of the Baku-Salyan highway has already been commissioned. It is a great four-lane road. That is, the communication between here and Baku and with other districts will improve dramatically. Also on the agenda is the construction of rural roads. We have received proposals from all districts – from both local executive authorities and citizens. In Neftchala, a major road project is awaiting implementation. It will be a 61-km road linking more than 20 villages. Thus, this road and the road projects already implemented will completely resolve the problem of rural roads.
There are other issues and other problems. You know them well, and so do I. We are resolving them little by little. The biggest problem here is drinking water. We have tried in recent years to gradually resolve this issue. Water treatment plants have been installed in more than 20 villages, providing about 50 per cent of the population with drinking water. But we must supply the people of Neftchala with clean drinking water in full, and we will do that. Projects are being prepared and their implementation will probably begin soon. Of course, modular projects will also be continued. But it is necessary to build a new city network. It is necessary to identify new sources and, of course, carry out the infrastructure work. This issue is on the agenda and it will be resolved.
There are problems associated with gasification. In this sense, Neftchala District is not fully gasified yet. It has been gasified by about 50 per cent. Fifty per cent of the population is provided with gas. Gasification in Neftchala District should be at 100 per cent – this is the task that has been set. I think that the government agencies dealing with these issues should carry out this work even faster.
The creation of the social infrastructure, of course, is always in the spotlight. Renovation is about to start at the central hospital. Funds will be allocated. A new Olympic sports center will be built. Schools are repaired and built. In other words, all of these social and infrastructure issues are on our agenda. We are aware of these issues. We are dealing with them and will resolve them.
Of course, a very important issue is the creation of new jobs in Neftchala District. There are several enterprises here. But I think that there should be more of them, especially given the fact that the current year has been declared the Year of Industry. The Year of Industry is special because this sector is provided with even more attention. We have several major industrial centers whose development, of course, is a priority. But at the same time, I have issued the order to set up industrial estates in all our districts. Depending on the characteristics of each district, we will create various manufacturing industries in them. Such a zone should be available in Neftchala District too. The public and the district authorities will probably identify places where infrastructure projects will be implemented at the expense of the state. All the necessary communications will be laid and entrepreneurs will have favorable conditions for the construction of their manufacturing plants. The state, on its part, will provide financial support. Each year, concessional loans worth about 300 million manats are provided for business development from the state budget, which encourages private enterprise development.
A lot has been done in recent years to develop the Azerbaijani regions and the non-oil sector. This has allowed us the opportunity to generate most of our economy in the non-oil sector. This is a great achievement, and we should try to make even more impressive strides in the development of the non-oil sector, businesses and agriculture. There are all the opportunities for that – public policy, financial resources and support for entrepreneurship. Of course, it is also necessary to take the lead on the ground. The public, business people and the district authorities should demonstrate a unified position on that. Then each district will have a developed and powerful industry. This is our policy and our dream, and this will be the case because all our programs are executed. Not a single program has been left unfinished. In particular, as I have said, the regional development programs actually have been over-fulfilled.
When the third program was being adopted, we received proposals from the ground. On the basis of those proposals a program was compiled and published. You are probably familiar with it, as it contains the work to be undertaken in each district. This is our approach associated with the future development of the regions.
I am sure that we will continue achieving the rapid development of our country. Our independence is strong. Azerbaijan is developing and our destiny is in our hands. The period of independence shows once again that our people can thrive only if they are independent.
Today, Azerbaijan is one of a handful of countries around the world where there is development and stability. We live in a political agreement. Our goal is to further develop and strengthen the country and create a stronger Azerbaijan. We are successfully moving towards this goal. If all the issues are resolved in each district and each village, then all the issues will be resolved in the country as a whole.
I heartily congratulate you on this wonderful holiday again and wish you success!