Closing speech by Ilham Aliyev at the Cabinet meeting on results of socio-economic development in first quarter of 2020 and future tasks

15 july 2020, 16:00

I am sure that thanks to the measures to be taken by the end of the year, both customs and tax authorities will achieve good results. I would like to mention another figure. You have cited it and I believe that it is necessary to draw public attention to it. In 2015 and in six months of this year, the volume of imports was about the same. However, in 2015 customs authorities collected 700 million manats and this year more than 2 billion manats, or about three times more. Due to what? Due to transparency, anti-smuggling measures and the right approach. If serious reforms had not been carried out in this area and in the area of taxation, we would have lost these funds. How could we provide our budget then? Therefore, the reforms carried out in this area and their tangible results allow us the opportunity to implement our budget plans in full. I have repeatedly said that full transparency should be ensured in the area of government revenues. It is necessary to create conditions for entrepreneurs so that they could fully switch to a transparent economy. A grace period is also provided for them too. Both customs and tax authorities have held consultations and meetings with them, explained to them not to deceive the state, live and sleep quietly. Therefore, I appreciate the work done in these areas.

I think that in general, the work done in six months can be assessed positively. This year has been extremely difficult not only for us but also for the whole world. It is no coincidence that, according to leading international financial institutions, a significant part of 150 countries of the world have turned to international financial institutions for help. Azerbaijan is not on this list. Azerbaijan ensures its development at its own expense.

I would like to cite another figure. The latest UN report on the Sustainable Development Index was recently published. Azerbaijan, having advanced in comparison with last year, is in 54th place. I think this is an excellent indicator. I should also note that, according to this indicator, Azerbaijan is the leader of the region even though our gross domestic product has slightly decreased, which happened for natural reasons. In general, six months of the year can be assessed positively. By the end of the year, all the tasks facing us must be completed. I believe that the investment program will be fully implemented. According to the information I have, the investment program has been completed by 40 percent in six months. This is primarily due to the fact that there is transparency in this area, procurement-related reforms are under way and tender procedures are followed. I have given this instruction. At the same time, we all understand that the investment program serves to create the necessary infrastructure for the country and is an important factor for employment. Therefore, try to make sure that the investment program is fully implemented by the end of the year.

Taking into account the processes taking place in the region and the recent events, we need to review our military spending as well. It is not ruled out that Armenia, following the powerful blow inflicted on them and the situation they have found themselves in, may resort to another provocation under this pretext. I must also say that according to the operational data I have, there is some activity from the Armenian side in the Karabakh region, on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops. The Azerbaijani army is in full control and will continue to keep the situation under control. It is not ruled out that new provocations may be committed. Therefore, we need to revise our military expenditures, in particular, the expenditures envisaged for the army in next year’s budget should provide our army in full. I have said that as much funds will be allocated as is necessary for the development of our army.

So today's meeting has come to a close. All these instructions must be fulfilled. I am sure that by the end of the year we will achieve our goal and successfully complete this year as well. Thank you!