Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with representatives of the general public in Sumgayit

15 december 2017, 11:45
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 A number of enterprises are starting to function at the Sumgayit chemical industry park today. The foundation of several other enterprises has also been laid. This is a wonderful and remarkable event which shows once again that the establishment of the Sumgayit chemical industry park was a very correct and timely decision. Today, we are celebrating the opening of four enterprises. The foundation of three other enterprises has been laid as well.

The creation of the Sumgayit chemical industry park is the embodiment of the policy pursued in the industrial sphere in Azerbaijan. The government has taken all necessary measures on this territory. On an area of 500 hectares, the government has implemented all projects related to communications and transport – i.e. all infrastructure projects. The private sector, in its turn, has ensured investment in that sectors that are of great importance for our country. On the example of the Sumgayit chemical industry park, we are seeing excellent results of a partnership between the state and the private sector. Thousands of people are employed in these enterprises. Currently the park has 15 residents. The amount of investments already made and those to be made is measured by billions of dollars. If we also consider the projects the construction of which is still ongoing, then there are plans to invest a total of $2.7 billion.

The enterprises that are important for the country's economy and its industrial potential are being launched today. These enterprises will eliminate our country’s dependence on imports. This makes me very happy because one of our main goals is to increase local production, create jobs and reduce dependence on imports. Today, we have laid the foundation of a large glass factory. After it starts to operate, the imports of glass to Azerbaijan will be stopped. On the contrary, Azerbaijan will export glass itself. Considering the fact that hundreds of residential buildings and modern skyscrapers are under construction in Baku and other cities these days, the demand for glass will be great.

As you know, we have been paying great attention to the development of carpet weaving lately. In a short time, 10 carpet factories have already been opened. Ten more factories will be opened next year. In general, there are plans to set up 30 carpet factories. Of course, the successful operation of these factories requires local raw materials, and we have also laid the foundation of a spinning and dyeing factory today. This is an enterprise that will be created by means of public investment. Thus, we will provide all carpet-weavers, our carpet makers working both in these factories and on their own with our own raw materials.

At the same time, the foundation of a tobacco factory was laid today. It is also of great importance. At present, we depend on cigarette imports. Of course, we all want the consumption of cigarettes in Azerbaijan to drop and people to give up this harmful habit. But it is not the case so far. Of course, domestic production must replace imports. The products to be manufactured at this factory will address 50 per cent of the domestic demand. I am sure that we will meet the domestic demand by 100 per cent in the future and also export cigarettes to foreign markets. Tobacco-growing in Azerbaijan is developing very fast today. Of course, the production of cigarettes as the final product of tobacco-growing is also being created in Azerbaijan.

The issue of construction of a pesticide plant has also been resolved. This is also a very important sector. On my instructions, great attention is being paid to this area because we still rely on imports. The plant to be created in this park will fully meet the domestic demand. In the future, at the next stage, there will also be export opportunities. This will give a great impetus to the development of agriculture because agriculture, along with industrial production, is our main priority. As a result of prudent agro-technical measures, we will be able to significantly increase the yields.

A very significant event is also the opening of this modern Data Center, which has great potential. This center is based on the latest world technologies. Azerbaijan demonstrates leadership on a global scale in this sphere as well. As you know, the block chain technology is an area to which great attention is being paid in the world today. Many countries and companies are trying to attract these technologies to their countries. They are striving for this. Azerbaijan is in the forefront here as well. The creation of such a large and modern Data Center meeting all world standards testifies to the fact that we are looking to the future and developing our country in accordance with the progressive developments taking place in the world. This is a scientific center, an industrial enterprise and a large business area.

In other words, just have a look – in a matter of one day an impetus is being given to seven enterprises in Sumgayit. They start operating. If we add to this the other residents of the Sumgayit chemical park, we will see that this is really a large industrial center on a global scale. The construction of the "SOCAR Polymer" plant and a carbamide plant is under way. The total amount of investment in these two projects is $1.7 billion. This will allow us the opportunity to have local production and local raw materials. In addition, we will generate good export opportunities.

As I have already mentioned, there are only 15 residents in this industrial park. Both foreign and local investors work here. If we had not made this decision and the government had not taken all the necessary measures, including the financial support, this park would not be here today and we would not have such wonderful opportunities. I am sure that the activities of the Sumgait chemical industry park will expand even more in the future. There are large territories here. New projects are being considered. Therefore, this park has a great future.

Sumgayit today is the second largest industrial city in the South Caucasus after Baku. The industrial enterprises available here meet the highest standards. This means new jobs. According to the information I have, more than 8,000 people work in the chemical industry park at the moment – both in construction and in the management of enterprises. In the future, this figure will increase further. So all issues related to unemployment will be resolved in Sumgayit. We will continue to support the comprehensive development of Sumgayit in the future.

As for the creation of industrial estates, this process has gained momentum in our country. The Neftchala industrial district has started to operate. Similar zones are being established in Hajigabul, Masalli and Sabirabad districts. The opening of the first large factory at the Mingachevir light industry park is scheduled for early next year. So the process of industrialization in Azerbaijan is progressing fast. This is underpinned by our policy and the confidence on the part of foreign and local investors because investment is made only in stable countries. Azerbaijan is one of the countries enjoying international authority and developing successfully in economic terms. According to the Davos Forum, we are ranked in 35th place in the world in terms of economic competitiveness. The launch of these seven enterprises in Sumgayit today, as well as the substations feeding them, is further evidence of how correct our policies are. We are completing year 2017 successfully.

I am very delighted with the overall development of Sumgayit. This is my 18th visit to Sumgayit. This year I have been here for the second time. All infrastructure projects in the city are practically over. The uninterrupted supply of drinking water has reached 94 per cent and gasification 100 per cent. There are no problems with electricity. New roads are being laid. This year we have ensured the construction of the new coastal road Bilgah-Sumgayit. Social facilities, schools, hospitals, an Olympic sports center, a Paralympic Center, and an “ASAN xidmət” Center have been established. Today we will celebrate the opening of the "Kimyachi" Culture Center after major overhaul. In other words, there is great development in the social, economic and industrial spheres. The Sumgayit Boulevard, as I mentioned at the opening ceremony of the boulevard, is just a miracle because the construction of such a boulevard in a short time is a truly huge event. Everything is being done to ensure that people live comfortably and are provided with jobs. I want to reiterate that Sumgayit is turning into a large and modern industrial center on a world scale. I should also mention another issue: all the enterprises comply with the highest environmental standards. I have specifically made this clear in my instruction because, as you know, the environmental situation in Sumgayit was not very good before. Even in all international rankings it was considered one of the most problematic cities in the world in an environmental sense. Today Sumgayit is perhaps one of the most beautiful and clean cities from the environmental point of view. We have managed to achieve this. Therefore, the constant improvement of the environmental situation in Sumgayit is in our spotlight, I am sure that clean air and a wonderful climate here are very important for the people of Sumgayit.

We are completing this year successfully. In 11 months, industrial production in the non-oil sector has increased by 3.5 per cent, our non-oil economy has increased by 2.4 per cent and agriculture by more than 4 per cent. These are our key economic indicators. Our foreign reserves are growing and our financial situation is very stable. Azerbaijan is capable of creating and presenting such wonderful creations to our people today.

All the people attending this meeting today are representatives of the enterprises I have attended the opening and groundbreaking ceremonies of today. I congratulate you and I wish you further success. I also wish you a happy New Year and the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis. Thank you.