Azerbaijan is a favorable country for the development of entrepeneurship
Q: First of all, we would like to hear a couple of words from you on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the New Azerbaijan Party.
A: I offer my sincere congratulation of all members of the party and the whole people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the New Azerbaijan Party.
As you know the New Azerbaijan Party was established at the initiative and with active participation of Azerbaijani intellectuals during the period of hardship of the Azerbaijan history, when the country was undergoing serious ordeal. Creation of the New Azerbaijan Party was the result of events that took place in Azerbaijan in late 90s and logical conclusion of the existing social-political conditions.
Today the New Azerbaijan Party groups nearly 640,000 members. The New Azerbaijan Party's program highlighted the main tasks aimed at strengthening the state independency, building the democratic, legal and secular state and ensuring the peaceful and prosperous life of the citizens.
The principles of independent state, lawfulness, creative progress, Azerbaijanism, civil solidarity and social justice as the basis of the Party's ideology stipulate the ideological base of the political future of Azerbaijan.
Q: What can you say of the formation and development of entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan?
A: After the Republic of Azerbaijan announced independence in 1991, the necessity emerged for establishment of financial institutions able to provide efficient financial support for transition to new economic relations and establishment and development of private sector and consequently in October 12, 1992 the first financial institution was established intended to provide lax credits from the state budget for entrepreneurship.
Azerbaijan's economy has been successfully developing this year too, and, I believe, this rapid development will continue in the years to come because the reforms that we have carried out so far and the results that we have achieved allow us to say that Azerbaijan's successful development will further be ensured.
I think that taking into account the continuing crisis in the world, it is quite a high achievement, and it allows us to successfully implement our investment programs.
Our non-oil sector is growing at a rapid pace, which has been retained since the beginning of the year. We are reducing the dependence of our economy on oil and gas, which contributes to solving the issue of economic diversification. All these reforms and achievements pave the way for the development of entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan.
Q: What can you say of the measures to develop entrepreneurship in the country?
A: Over the last 10 years Azerbaijan has developed most rapidly in the world. The economy has grown 3.4 times. No other country has achieved such growth in the last 10 years. The main prerequisites for this are the reforms, the stability and public order observed in our country. Of course, stability and sound policies have created favorable conditions for the development of the economic sphere.
Over the past 10 years we have also paid great attention to the development of private enterprise. In particular, to enable entrepreneurs to invest in the economy, the government has implemented specific programs to attract financial resources.
Entrepreneurs were provided with concessional loans. Special recommendation plans were also prepared to facilitate business development. Loans are being allocated for the development of the most important sectors of the economy.
Financial resources are allocated, measures of consultative and advisory nature are taken, so that entrepreneurs could benefit from the received soft loans more effectively. This, of course, will have a positive impact on the future development of the processing industry and agriculture.
As a result of the measures taken over the past 10 years Azerbaijan attracted $160 billion in investment. The volume of investment in recent years continues to grow. Last year it reached a record level – $28 billion was invested in the Azerbaijani economy. Domestic investment already exceeds foreign. This is also a very positive phenomenon.
Q: What are main challenges to the development of entrepreneurship?
A: One of the key issues related to the development of entrepreneurship is that potential in all regions of the country must be effectively used in order to boost the non-oil sector, improve infrastructure, expand the application of advanced technologies, etc.
Considerable work is being carried out to reduce dependence of Azerbaijan`s economy on the oil factor. Small and medium entrepreneurship has become an important factor here.
The confederation attaches a particular importance to solving problems of entrepreneurs, enlighten them.
One of the challenges is that entrepreneurs should be more organized in the regions.
Q: How do you think what amendments should be made to the law on entrepreneurship?
A: President Ilham Aliyev orders and decrees signed in the last few years prove that serious attention is paid to the development of entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan. One of such important documents is the Law on the regulation of inspection of entrepreneurship activity and the protection of the interests of entrepreneurs, which was approved by the head of state in 2013.
The National Confederation of Entrepreneurs “Employers” Organization of Azerbaijan Republic is currently working to ensure the passing of a draft Competition Code and a draft law on employers` unions.
One of the most important components of the development of entrepreneurship is enlightening entrepreneurs, studying international practice, and providing consulting services.
With this aim a total of 144 events were held by the confederation in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Industry in 80 regions involving entrepreneurship.
Q: What can you say of foreign relations of the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs “Employers” Organization of Azerbaijan Republic?
A: Apart from public bodies and local institutions, the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs “Employers” Organization of Azerbaijan Republic is cooperating with international organizations and the embassies of Azerbaijan abroad and embassies of foreign countries in Azerbaijan. Our confederation is a member of the International Employers` Organization and the International Congress of Industrials and Entrepreneurs.
The confederation is participating in international financial and business forums and conferences both in Azerbaijan and in foreign countries.
This year the management and employees of the confederation attended business forums and international conferences in Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, Russia, Polands, Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Also this year the management of the confederation held meetings with ambassadors of the United States of America, Germany, Italy, France, Morocco, Turkey, Russia and other foreign countries in Azerbaijan.
The confederation is expanding and deepening its cooperation with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, commissions and organizations of the European Union, Business Council of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organizations, and etc.