Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of lime factory in Gazakh03 march 2020, 23:55
First of all, let me congratulate you on the opening of the factory. I am very glad that your company has been active in creating this new factory, thus making a very important contribution to the development of our country and people.
Several plants are already in operation. I recommended that all investments be made in Azerbaijan. You had other plans. I regularly review your activities because all new industrial enterprises are very important, especially those that address domestic needs and also manufacture exportable products. Therefore, when I heard that you had plans to invest in foreign countries, I did not raise an objection because both private and state-owned companies of Azerbaijan are investing abroad these days. However, it is advisable to first create enterprises in Azerbaijan in order to create jobs, develop local production, reduce dependence on imports and export products that would bring currency to our country. The stands I have reviewed here today show that the company’s activities are fairly large-scale and have led to the creation of hundreds of jobs, especially in the regions. There are plans to employ 150 and a further 250 people at the next stage at this new limestone factory alone. So there are good opportunities for providing citizens with work.
As for your plans for the future, I am sure that with the support of the state they will be realized. The state has provided you with financial support for the effective operation of these plants and your effective activities. It has allocated low-interest loans. However, you took on the main burden, of course, and this is natural. The state will always stand by the entrepreneurs and continue to give a powerful impetus to the development of entrepreneurship.
The investment climate in our country is very positive today. It is no coincidence that $13.5 billion was invested in the country's economy last year. This process continues this year, with a significant part of investments being local. This suggests that local companies can already stand firm on their feet and this work will be continued with the support of the state. Through the Entrepreneurship Development Fund alone, entrepreneurs have received preferential loans worth 2 billion manats, which has helped create tens of thousands of jobs.
The World Bank also acknowledges the positive nature of our investment climate. In these ratings, we are among top 20 most reforming countries. Of course, a very judicious policy needs to be pursued to achieve this. I am sure that not only the World Bank, but also local entrepreneurs see and approve the ongoing reforms because the key thing for them is the application of rules. The state policy in this direction in all areas is unambiguous, including the financial and economic fields. It is necessary to ensure full transparency. Thanks to this transparency, tax and customs authorities transferred 1 billion manats into the budget in excess of the forecast last year alone.
Although the budget for this year has reached a record high, there has never been such a large amount of budget expenditures in the history of Azerbaijan before. In preparing the budget, extensive analytical work was done to determine the forecasts. Compared to last year, forecasts have been increased. Despite this, in January-February the tax authorities transferred 180 million manats and customs authorities 70 million manats into the budget above the forecast. A total of 250 million manats in just two months. How? Due to transparency, accuracy, integrity and expansion of the tax base. Therefore, entrepreneurs fully supporting this work will expand their financial capabilities and have additional funds which should first of all be invested in Azerbaijan. At the same time, these positive trends are causing a severe blow to the shadow economy. The volume of the shadow economy is sharply narrowing. It should narrow even more, and the funds raised above the forecast are a clear example of this.
There shouldn’t be unofficial employment. I am sure that this is not the case at your enterprise. Employment agreements must be concluded with all employees. I am appealing to all employees again: if an entrepreneur tries to hire you illegally, don’t agree because you will not receive a pension and will not be provided with compulsory health insurance. Starting this year, compulsory health insurance will gradually cover the entire country. Those working unofficially will be deprived of this. They will have to pay for medical services. Compulsory health insurance will also completely put an end to the practice of service charges. Unfortunately, we still have serious problems and violations in this area. Compulsory health insurance will stop this. At the same time, this will be a serious method of combating unofficial employment.
The opening of this plant today indicates that our country is pursuing the right economic policy. We are seeing tangible results of measures being taken in the field of entrepreneurship, as our economy should develop at the expense of the private sector. The state simply has to create conditions and implement infrastructure projects so that entrepreneurs work with enthusiasm.
There are no problems associated with electricity in Gazakh district. Electricity supply is at 100 percent. There are no problems with gas supply either. Gazakh district is provided with gas by 100 percent. Today, 85 percent of roads in Gazakh have been renovated. If there were problems in these areas, no entrepreneur would invest money here, including yourselves. You would have found another place, left for another country where there is infrastructure. Therefore, we have created this so that people live well and comfortably and so that entrepreneurs invest here. The head of the executive authority has informed me that in the village of Dash Salahli there are three major enterprises with 1,300 employees. The population of the village is 10,000 people, and 1,300 work here. This is the work we and the entrepreneurs are doing. Therefore, the central government and local executive authorities must always support entrepreneurs. Their problems must be resolved. I have been informed that we have built a new road, but trucks can destroy it. An alternative road needs to be paved for trucks. I am now instructing the Azerbaijan Highway State Agency, they hear me. It is necessary to build a new 2km road so that the rural road remains in good condition and does not deform.
I congratulate you once again and wish you continued success. Do create such enterprises so that we could together participate in their opening.
Executive director of the Azerlime lime factory Fuad Bashirov then made a speech.