Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of "ASAN Kommunal" Center No1 in Baku
28 december 2016, 11:00
Hello, good morning.
The “ASAN Kommunal” Center is opening in Baku. I cordially congratulate you on this occasion. In May of this year, I signed a corresponding executive order. According to that order, centers of “ASAN Kommunal” should be established. The first center is already beginning to operate. I am told that another Center will be opened in the near future. This is a great initiative and yet another project.
“ASAN xidmət” is expanding its activities. The centers of “ASAN xidmət”, including “ASAN Kommunal”, provide and will be providing the highest level of service. The building is also beautiful and very nice. There are good conditions for people. There are good conditions for those working here. This demonstrates a modern appearance and the development of our country, and reflects our policy.
As you know, utility tariffs were recently amended on my instruction. This was also a purely social approach. After this amendment 75-80 per cent of our people will pay for electricity and gas by the old rates. So this means that a large part of the population won’t feel this change. On the contrary, as a result of the measures taken the social protection of our people will further enhance next year.
This is a principle of social justice. Wealthy, rich people, those who own large houses and villas should pay more. And those who have little or limited possibilities, or representatives of the middle class will receive concessions from the state. Even the increased tariffs are several times lower than those in neighboring countries. Despite this, I would like to note again that we have taken yet another step to enhance social protection.
The “ASAN xidmət” initiative is also social in nature because it is a service provided to citizens. Using this service, citizens do not experience any difficulties. It is no coincidence that the approval rating of “ASAN xidmət” is close to 100 per cent. That is an assessment people are giving to this service. Over the past few years, there have been 13 million applications. So this has really assumed large-scale proportions in our country. The geographical coverage of “ASAN xidmət” is expanding. At the same time, its functions are growing. We already have 11 centers. Six of them are located in the regions. Two new centers will be opened in Guba and Mingachevir next year. In addition, the construction of two more centers will begin in Sheki and Imishli next year.
The “ASAN səyyar” service is also available. We will also put the “ASAN qatar” system into operation today. “ASAN viza” is already functioning. I am told that this process has already begun, and I am sure that it will expand next year. This is another step of ASAN. Thus, “ASAN xidmət” is expanding its activities. I have repeatedly said that the level of service existing at “ASAN xidmət”, the order, discipline and transparency should be applied everywhere. This is why “ASAN xidmət” should and does have influence on all other fields.
In fact, the introduction of this system has been a kind of a revolution in the field of public services and public relations. This in itself is a great progress and a great innovation. However, the impact of “ASAN xidmət” consists not only in that. It is not limited to the services provided in the centers. «ASAN xidmət» has brought innovation to the relationship between citizens and government officials in general. It has given us even more strength to fight bribery. It has demonstrated that it is possible to fight bribery and win. This is the essence and meaning of “ASAN xidmət”. People also approve of this service and look forward to “ASAN xidmət” centers opening in their district. We will do that gradually. According to our plans, 10 centers will be established in the regions in 2018. After that, this process will go even faster.
As for “ASAN viza”, its establishment was necessary because we are trying to attract more tourists to Azerbaijan, so that our country is known better and there is proper information about it. At the same time, it is a great contribution to the country’s economy. Hotels and public places operate, which brings currency to our country. But I have repeatedly heard that getting a visa to Azerbaijan was a major problem. The situation with visas was not reassuring. There were a lot of violations and some unreasonable demands were put forward. In general, people had to queue for months at our embassies and consulates in other cities, and it was not even known whether they would receive a visa in the end. Therefore, the “ASAN viza” system was introduced to find a lasting solution to this issue, and anyone can now enter Azerbaijan within three days. I am told that this year, before “ASAN viza” has even started to operate, the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan has increased by 10 per cent. There are countries from which the number of visitors to Azerbaijan has increased 30-40 times. In 2017, this process will go even faster.
Visiting this new center at the end of 2016, I am getting further convinced that our initiatives are becoming a reality and our policy is underpinned by specific examples. And this is the way it should be. Proper instructions have been issued, but they should be implemented on the ground. I have attended the opening of such centers, 11 centers, and this is the 12th. By participating in such opening ceremonies, I demonstrate again my support for this movement and give a high assessment to your work.
Of course, we can’t separate “ASAN xidmət” from the volunteer movement. This is also an innovation. Before “ASAN”, there was no volunteer movement in Azerbaijan. We had heard about volunteers but had no idea what the volunteer movement was about. Today, such a movement is available in Azerbaijan. I am told that 10,000 young people have worked in “ASAN xidmət” centers as volunteers. Many of them are working in various capacities for the further development of our country today. Currently, more than 700 volunteers work in all of these centers. Two years ago, I met with them at the first congress of volunteers.
Finally, these centers also create jobs. This center offers about 100 new jobs. We can say all people working here are youngsters, most of them are women, girls. This also makes me very happy, because our women should be provided with jobs. We are thus successfully coping with unemployment. At the same time, women as active members of our society are serving the state.
I congratulate you on the opening of this center. I wish you continued success for the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis and a Happy New Year.