03 september 2016, 16:00
Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of a new drinking water line in the city of Salyan
My warm greetings to all of you! I have just been informed about this project. In 2012, we laid the foundation of a large water project in Hajigabul District. The problem of water supply of Salyan city, which is part of this great project, is being resolved today. I think that this is a historic project because this region has always had problems with water. People have experienced difficulties. We are resolving this problem, and people are receiving clean water corresponding to World Health Organization standards. This is the first stage of the project. After this, we will realize other projects as well. It is also necessary to lay sewage lines to finally resolve this problem in Salyan District.
Several districts have already joined this network. I have attended the launch of drinking water projects in Masalli District today, in Bilasuvar three years ago and then in the city of Shirvan. Water projects in Neftchala District are still on the agenda. They will also be addressed. So the goal is to implement clean drinking water projects in all the cities of Azerbaijan and save our people from this problem.
The problem of drinking water, as you know, has always been very acute. Unfortunately, our water sources are limited. The main rivers feeding us are located outside the country. Therefore, we need to use water very efficiently, and we are doing that. At the same time, we utilize domestic sources. The construction of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water line pursued the goal of deriving water from an internal source and delivering it to the people of Baku.
We have taken major steps to clean the Kura water. Today, the people of Salyan are already provided with clean drinking water. I want to say again that this is a historic project because we are implementing this project the first time in history, and the people will certainly see its benefits. Clean drinking water is a fundamental condition for human health. We want the people of Azerbaijan to be healthy and the younger generation to grow in good health. We are taking important steps for public health, including those in the field of public health. Today I attended the opening of the Bilasuvar Central District Hospital. The Salyan Central District Hospital has operated for several years now. In general, there is no town in this region where there wouldn’t be a modern medical facility.
As I noted, drinking water is a factor that directly affects people’s health. It may have both positive and negative effects. Unfortunately, it was impossible to provide Salyan with quality water. According to my information, in some cases untreated water was taken directly from the Kura River. This problem is now no longer on the agenda. All other problems, too, are and should be resolved. Azerbaijan is developing steadily. All are regions are developing. We are successfully implementing state programs on the socioeconomic development of regions, including Salyan District.
Infrastructure projects are being implemented. The Salyan-Baku highway has been in operation for several years. The construction of the road linking Baku with the Iranian border continues. In Salyan, we have implemented rural road projects. Several projects have already been put into operation and roads opened. Gasification is well under way. In Salyan, gasification is approximately 80 per cent. This is a great achievement. At the next stage, however, we need to raise it to 90 per cent. In the future, all settlements of Salyan District should be provided with natural gas.
Infrastructure projects serve the people and, at the same time, accelerate the development of each district. There can be no talk of development without the infrastructure. If there are no electricity, roads, gas and irrigation opportunities, no district or village can develop. Therefore, we pay special attention to the implementation of infrastructure projects. Major state funds have already spent on this, and this process continues. We will continue to invest in infrastructure projects. In the near future, we will table the discussion of the state budget for next year. I have given the instruction that that the state budget, of course, should be socially oriented. It will fully reflect all social programs. At the same time, it is necessary to provide sufficient funds for investment, so that we could continue this work.
The construction of social infrastructure, schools, hospital buildings, sports facilities, roads, electricity, gas and drinking water lines – everything is being provided. Parallel to this, each district should try to make an even greater contribution to our common work.
The potential of our districts, including Salyan, is enormous. We simply have to build our work correctly. Then our districts will be able to live at their own expense. Today, most of our districts live at the expense of subsidies from the state budget. As long as there is a need for that, this will be the case. However, we should do our best for every district to maximize its own possibilities and potential.
There are great opportunities for the socioeconomic development of Salyan District. I think that we have now entered a new period, a new stage for the development of Salyan District. We have recently appointed a new head of the local executive authority. I usually do not praise government officials, but I can say that he worked well in his previous place - in Yardimli District. The people there were quite pleased and the work went well. Considering the fact that Salyan District needed more attention, I appointed him here. I appointed him, gave all the instructions necessary and said that you should be alongside the people and take care of them. All the problems in the district must be resolved. Whatever can be resolved should be resolved. The issues that can’t be resolved here must be resolved by central executive authorities. So all the necessary measures are being taken for the development of Salyan District.
I am sure that industrial development here should go even faster here in the future. I have issued the instruction for industrial zones to be set up in every district, s that we could create jobs and increase local production. It is necessary to establish processing plants. We should pay special attention to agriculture, grow the plants that are more consistent with the climate and soil conditions of the district. We are carrying out all the tests and preparing proposals now. I am sure that we will see good results in the near future.
This year, cotton-growing is developing in Salyan. For example, whereas last year cotton was planted on 400 hectares, this year the figure is 2,000 hectares, i.e. five times more. According to the program, cotton will be planted on an area of 7,000 hectares next year and continue to increase afterwards. This, of course, will create additional material resources, increase employment and, at the same time, contribute to our common cause. Our oil revenues have reduced now. This is a reality. When the price of oil falls three- to fourfold, our foreign exchange earnings decline accordingly.
It is true that Azerbaijan is coping with this crisis today. I can say that if we look at the situation in other oil-producing countries, we can see that Azerbaijan is better off. At the same time, we need to export products that would bring us currency. Among agricultural products, one of the most appropriate sectors in the region is cotton-growing. People who worked in the cotton industry in the 1970s lived well, earned good money and built homes. At this stage, too, cotton-growing will also create new opportunities for our people.
Issues of employment should always be in the spotlight. Over the past 13 years, we have created 1.3 million jobs. However, this should be an ongoing process because the population increases, the needs are rising and consumption is growing. Therefore, we should create new factories and processing plants. Each district and its authorities should try to attract investments to it. Infrastructure and social infrastructure projects are and will be invested in by the state. At the same time, subsidies are provided for fertilizer and fuel to speed up the development of agriculture. With the exception of the land tax, villagers are exempt from all taxes. They are provided with machinery and equipment for lease. Our country imports equipment worth several hundred million dollars. It will be provided to the rural population so that it could till the land. The state provides all necessary support in this regard.
Local executive bodies should try to attract local and foreign private investment to our districts. It is necessary to travel abroad and convince investors to come there. There are many firms and companies in Azerbaijan. They should be attracted too. This is the duty of local executive authorities today because, let me say this again, the implementation of major infrastructure projects is the responsibility of the state. The state has allocated major funds for these projects. In recent years, we have allocated billions of manats for water projects. These projects do not generate an income and are purely social in nature. There are many countries that do not implement such projects and do not spend money. They do not want to spend money and prefer to save it. We are implementing all social projects because they are necessary for the people. We are creating and building this for the people to develop our country.
Therefore, local executive authorities should also work hard so that work went even faster in our districts. There should be sound competition between the districts. An assessment of work will depend on this result. Of course, district activists, intellectuals and the whole community, as always, should be active in this work and contribute to our common cause.
Once again, let me congratulate you on this wonderful event. This is a great and historic day. We are celebrating it together.
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