21 september 2016, 18:30
Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the laid foundation of Mingachevir Industrial Park
Dear friends, the people of Mingachevir. My warm greetings to all of you! It is a significant day in the life of Mingachevir city and our country as a whole. Today, we are laying the foundation of the Mingachevir industrial park. I sincerely congratulate you and all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion. This is indeed a remarkable historic event, which indicates that Azerbaijan is developing successfully, that all of its regions, our economy and industry are developing. This shows that our plans and decisions are being implemented. Last year, I signed a decree on the establishment of the Mingachevir industrial park. We have allocated funds for this area to be cleared. The preparatory work has now been completed, and today we are launching this major and large-scale project.
The establishment of this park is of great importance for Mingachevir. I can say that a new stage in the development of Mingachevir begins from this day. The work to be done in this industrial park will enhance our overall economic potential. Nine factories will be established here. The number of people working in these factories will reach 5,000-6,000 people. The scope of work to be carried out in the industrial park is worth around 150-200 million dollars. So it is a very large investment project. I am confident that the implementation of this project will generate new initiatives, because the project will greatly benefit the development of the city, the creation of jobs, the development of agriculture and industrial potential as a whole.
Mingachevir is an industrial city. It is a city of power engineers. From now on, Mingachevir will also be a center of light industry, perhaps even the first such center not only in Azerbaijan but also in the entire South Caucasus. I have repeatedly expressed my opinion on the industrial development of our country. We are fulfilling all our plans. Industrial zones should be established throughout our country, in every district, and work in this direction is already under way. Alongside Baku, there should be four main industrial centers in our country. Work in these centers should go even faster. Sumgayit is the second largest industrial center of the South Caucasus. In the cities of Ganja and Mingachevir, we will create new enterprises meeting the highest standards and working on the latest technologies. Such an industrial park could be created in Baku and elsewhere, but I decided that it should be set up in Mingachevir. After all, Mingachevir is a large city. The city's population is growing. There is practically no agriculture in Mingachevir. At the same time, the population is well trained and professional. In addition, Mingachevir has a large enough work force. Despite the fact that we have been able to significantly reduce the unemployment rate at the national level and the overall figure is about 5 per cent, there is a problem of unemployment in Mingachevir. The new companies to be established here will eliminate this problem. The creation of 5,000-6,000 jobs in such a short time is in itself a great indicator.
The enterprises that will operate in the industrial park will be export-oriented. This, in fact, is one of the major challenges we are facing. The work we have pursued in recent years aims to increase the non-oil potential of Azerbaijan and bolster export-oriented production. Cotton yarn, wool yarn, leather and acrylic yarn to be produced by these enterprises are all export-oriented. In particular, it will not be necessary to search for markets for the goods to be produced by cotton and woolen yarn enterprises because these products are sold on world markets. The advantage of this industrial park is that it will bring our country foreign currency in large amounts. Another advantage of this industrial park is that most businesses operating here will use local raw materials.
You are well aware that cotton production in Azerbaijan has received a big boost in recent years. As a result of the measures we have taken in a short time, we have managed to increase the acreage by almost three times. The expected harvest this year will exceed last year’s three times. Next year, it will be eight to 10 times bigger than this year, and Azerbaijani cotton will serve as raw material for the production of cotton yarn.
All these issues should be linked with each other, and relevant bodies are dealing with that. With the increase in the production of cotton, the volume of products processed here will also increase, of course. At the same time, I noted this in a cotton-related meeting in Sabirabad and I want to say it again: in the coming years we have to commission new ginneries, because the capacity of the existing ginneries is about 300,000-350,000 tons. Having completely restored cotton production, of course, we will grow much more produce. The operation of these factories will also have a positive impact on wool harvesting. Unfortunately, this sector is experiencing a decline in Azerbaijan even though it has great potential. In Soviet times, this industry brought our country very large incomes. Therefore, wool harvesting should be carried out in conjunction with the activities of the factory for the production of woolen yarn.
A shoe factory will be set up here. Leather production in Azerbaijan should be increased. We often use leather very irrationally. It is either sold to foreign countries as a raw material at low prices, or destroyed and burned. Thus, we are losing a large income. Every developing sector will have a big impact on other sectors. It is gratifying that much of the raw material base of the Mingachevir industrial park will be created in Azerbaijan. Thus, the operation of these factories will provide great support for agriculture as well. Our main goal today is to facilitate the development of agriculture and industry, and accelerate this development. Therefore, the work to be done in this industrial park combines the agricultural sector and the sphere of industrial production. In essence, this park is a reflection of our policy. Our policy is focused on the development of the non-oil sector. Today we are seeing that. Our policy is to attract investments. We see that major investment will be made here. I am told that 150 million will be invested in the acquisition of equipment and 60 million dollars in construction. This shows, as I have always said, that our country is very attractive for investment. This shows that even in the years of crisis the economy of Azerbaijan receives major investment. The most gratifying thing is that it is invested in the non-oil sector. We are used to the investment in the oil and gas sector, which is natural because this sphere brings huge incomes. Foreign investors show interest themselves and come to us. In the case of the non-oil sector, we should attract investors. State bodies, local executive bodies, investors and entrepreneurs – we all have to work together. Therefore, the organization of investment and their attraction on a large scale are a manifestation of our policies. This industrial park is being created in Mingachevir. It is a reflection of our regional development program. The first regional development program was adopted in 2004. Since then, we have created tens of thousands of new businesses and more than a million of new jobs. Our regions are developing, cities are improving and infrastructure projects are implemented. This is where the development of entrepreneurship and partnership between the public and private sectors manifest themselves. As President, I have signed a decree on the establishment of this park. We have allocated initial funds for infrastructure work to be carried out. Investors, in their turn, will do the rest of the work, and a zone of industrial zone enterprises, a cluster, meeting the highest standards will be created in Mingachevir in the coming years. This shows again that Azerbaijan is developing in the right direction. Although our revenues have declined and economic and financial difficulties are still experienced on a global scale, we are going our own way, because it is based on national interests. We are on a path of development. We take all measures necessary for our country, so that it develops even faster, this development is sustainable, the dependence on oil is reduced to the minimum, and our export potential increases. This is why large and small industrial enterprises are being set up today, giving a major boost to agriculture.
The reforms, in particular the steps taken in connection with management and promotion of agriculture and exports are already bearing fruit. It is no coincidence that we are laying the foundation of this Industrial Park in Mingachevir this year. This year is probably one of the economically most difficult years over the past decade for the whole world. We go our own way. Despite all the difficulties, Azerbaijan is developing, our regions are developing, our country is moving forward successfully, and this development should be sustainable.
What makes this park special is that it will bring great benefit to the people, to Mingachevir and our country for decades. A large garment factory will be set up here. The garment factory alone will provide 2,000 jobs. Garment factories usually employ women. This suggests that jobs are being created for women. We should try to make sure that both parents in the family have jobs. The development of such factories, of course, will give a great impetus to the development of Mingachevir.
The development of Mingachevir is always in the spotlight. The improvement and landscaping carried out in the city in recent years is very gratifying indeed. This is my sixth visit to Mingachevir. A lot was done in previous years. We have implemented important projects related to the infrastructure of Mingachevir. The Baku-Mingachevir highway meets the highest standards. It is a beautiful and smooth road. Other road projects have also been implemented in Mingachevir.
The level of gasification is 96 per cent. It is a very good indicator. A drinking water and sewage project is being implemented. It is likely to be completed next year. There are still problems associated with drinking water, and they will be eliminated. As for electricity, Mingachevir provides electricity to much of the country itself. There is no problem with that here. Work is under way in the field of social infrastructure. Last year saw a major overhaul of the City Hospital. A large camp for refugees has been built, and they have already been placed in these homes. The building of the Mingachevir Drama Theatre has been refurbished. A decree has been signed to establish the Mingachevir State University. We have reconstructed the Kura rowing base. I remember first visiting the base as president of the National Olympic Committee in early 2000. Of course, the current picture is incomparably different. There was no trace of the base then, as it housed displaced persons. We have resolved their problems. We have created excellent conditions for them and reconstructed the base. There is a wonderful hotel and several gyms here. There are ample opportunities to do canoeing. You, the people of Mingachevir, are well aware that this base is of great importance. In the entire post-Soviet area, it is the only rowing base that can be used all year round. Athletes from abroad also come here to train. This in itself is a contribution to the development of the city.
Mingachevir has excellent tourism potential. There are already several hotels here. I believe that leaders of the city and the bodies dealing with tourism should, in general, attract more tourists to Mingachevir. The development of tourism is one of the priorities today. The changes related to visas have given a huge boost to tourism development this year. Foreign tourists should also discover Mingachevir, as it has wonderful nature and clean air. It is in Mingechevir that the most beautiful and cleanest section of the Kura is located. The Kura is a big river. The color and quality of the water is a little different. The Kura is clean and beautiful here. Its color is pleasing to the eye. There is a wonderful natural environment and infrastructure here. International airports of Ganja and Gabala are nearby. There are excellent opportunities to come here from Baku now. Therefore, the tourism potential should develop here in the future.
Mingachevir is a city of power engineers, a light industry center of the South Caucasus and a modern comfortable city. Of course, it will continue to develop fast. It is a historic day today. It is a great day. We are launching a large project. There are several industrial parks in our country now. Two of them are located in Sumgayit. There is a Sumgayit Technology Park. The Sumgayit chemical industry park is beginning to operate. The third largest industrial park will be set up in Mingachevir. I cordially congratulate you on this wonderful event and wish you continued success.
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