Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of administrative building of DOST Agency and first DOST center09 may 2019, 11:45
Dear friends, it is a very significant day in the life of our country today. The first DOST center is opening and begins to operate. I sincerely congratulate you on this occasion. In August of last year, I signed a decree to establish the DOST Agency, and I am glad that the first center begins to function in a short time, in less than a year. As you know, 31 centers will be set up in Baku and in all our regions. All the conditions and opportunities are available for the provision of high-quality services here. The building is beautiful and modern both in terms of appearance and design. This once again demonstrates that the social sphere is a priority for us. Every center will have approximately 100-150 jobs, which is also very important. Groups of volunteers will work in all the centers. Thus, these centers will create excellent conditions for the provision of high-quality services to our citizens.
Social sphere is a priority for us. A lot of attention is being paid to this area. The reforms under way in this direction are already bearing fruit. The establishment of the DOST Agency is a very important reform in this direction. I am sure that the expansion of the Agency’s activities in the coming years will be highly appreciated by our people. Thus, our policy related to this area will be implemented in a focused fashion and on an even broader scale. Social sphere is of great importance for any country. Azerbaijan also pays great attention to this area. Our policy is socially oriented. We are trying to channel all our additional revenues into the social sphere, so that the well-being of our citizens becomes even better, problems related to unemployment are resolved at an even higher level, and the dynamic development of our country is ensured. Of course, this, first of all, requires economic development, and we are seriously dealing with this issue. The development of the non-oil sector and of entrepreneurship are interrelated issues. I believe that things are going well in this direction in Azerbaijan. Our economy is getting diversified. As you know, the private sector accounts for about 80 percent of our gross domestic product. Thus, the economic growth and reforms carried out in the economic sphere, an increase in budget revenues, of course, make it possible for us to pay great attention to the social sphere. I can say that in the first four months of this year, tax and customs authorities collected about 400 million manats of additional funds: 270 million manats by tax authorities and just over 100 million manats by customs authorities. Again, this has been achieved due to transparency and reforms. These additional financial resources allow us the opportunity to increase pensions, salaries, social benefits, and we are doing that. As you know, a serious social package was recently prepared and approved – about 3 million people benefited from these opportunities. Work in this direction will be continued. Raising the minimum wage and the minimum pension is on the agenda. Our employment development measures are also bearing fruit, i.e. the fight against illegal employment. Thus the economic and social policies of our country complement each other. And this is the way it should be. If we fully implement this, sustainable and successful development of our country will be ensured.
Another important initiative in the social sphere is the self-employment program. I am very pleased that our people are showing great interest in this program. We have been dealing with this issue for several years now. More active work has been carried out in this area in recent years, and I am glad that the number of applications is growing. On my initiative, we have discussed this issue with the World Bank. We have engaged them in these matters. The World Bank will use its financial resources to allocate funds for this sector, thus the self-employment program will cover about 10,000 people this year. In the future, the scope of this work should be expanded further. This will contribute to increasing the rate of employment and also make a great contribution to the country's economy. The self-employment program is of great importance for the development of the non-oil sector, agriculture and the service sector.
It is possible to say that our policy is reflected in DOST centers – reforms, innovation, the fight against corruption and bribery, new technologies, the involvement of young people in this work, the activities of volunteers. So these centers reflect the image of modern Azerbaijan, and our country should develop in this way. Modernization, renewal, reforms and active involvement of young people in this work will serve the development of our country.
I am very glad that almost all people working here are young people. The conditions created for young people are investments in the future. Young people will lead our country in the future and to make their contributions. Young people should be knowledgeable, competent, patriotic and caring. I am sure that you will provide high-level services to our people here.
I sincerely congratulate you on this wonderful event again. I hope more DOST centers are established soon. Thank you.
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