TODAY.AZ / Analytics

Azerbaijan to minimize dependence on oil, gas in 5-7 years

15 October 2014 [09:33] - TODAY.AZ


By Nigar Orujova

Rapid pace of development of the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan compared to the overall GDP growth assures that in the next five to seven years the country will completely get rid of the oil and gas dependence.

This statement came from Azerbaijan's MP, member of the parliamentary committee on economic policy, Rufat Guliyev.

Commenting on the statement made by President Ilham Aliyev at the last meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the socio-economic development of the country during the first nine months of 2014, and the challenges ahead, Guliyev said, the president has made it clear that he is satisfied with the current economic policy.

"Economic achievements are completely evident, and it should be noted that the growth in non-oil sector will hold out at six percent. That means that the growth of non-oil sector is nearly two and a half times faster than the overall GDP growth. I can say with confidence that we have avoided the "Dutch disease", which was predicted 10-15 years ago by the international experts," Guliyev said to Trend news agency.

He noted that the increase observed in the non-oil sector, makes it possible to cover the budget expenditures even now.

"Our goal is to escape to the maximum dependence on the oil and gas sector, which has long been the engine of our economic development. The next breakthrough will be made entirely by the non-oil sector," he stressed.

Guliyev said Azerbaijan is making huge progress in terms of other macroeconomic indicators as well.

"Inflation in the reporting period [January-September 2014] was only 1.5 percent, unemployment - five percent, and Azerbaijani manat is the most stable currency in the entire post-Soviet space in relation to key international currencies (dollar and euro). It should be noted, that over the past three to five years, almost all national currencies of the former Soviet Union suffered devaluation, except Azerbaijani manat," he underlined.

The MP said the progress indicates the presence of a strong monetary and financial system in Azerbaijan.

"The uniqueness of Azerbaijan's economic model will manifest itself more clearly. We have an opportunity to show the world that our economic model is better than many of the models that have existed until now," he said.

Azerbaijan-CIS relations

Guliyev said economic area of the CIS is the main economic launch pad of Azerbaijan, as it occupies a large share in the structure of the country's exports.

"The CIS market is of great importance for the delivery of our products. Today, Azerbaijan is the export-oriented country. We observed a positive trend in the growth of exports of non-oil products, an improvement of the quality of goods, bringing them up to international standards."

"At present, the range of goods that are exported from Azerbaijan to the neighboring countries is quite different from the one that was three-five years ago. We export more finished products. For example, if earlier only fruits and vegetables exported of agricultural products, now they are exported canned already. This indicates the development of agriculture and manufacturing industry," Guliyev said.

Today, more than 70 percent of Azerbaijani non-oil products are exported to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other countries of the Commonwealth, he said.

Guliyev noted that to expand its national interests it is important for Azerbaijan to cooperate with the CIS countries.

"Opinions on the relations with the CIS are divided in the country. First of all, as an economist, I emphasize that for us the CIS is another political platform," the MP said.

Guliyev also believes it is necessary to develop bilateral economic relations with the CIS countries at the same time.

"If we are not present in the CIS, it will automatically lead to the economic isolation of the Commonwealth countries. We can compete with the Western countries in this market," he said.

"Simultaneously, we are trying to export to Asian and European countries. If we strengthen our position in the market of the CIS, we can easily go out to the western and Asian markets in the future," Guliyev underlined.

Some 3.7 percent of Azerbaijan's exports and 23.34 percent of imported products account for the CIS countries in the first eight months, the State Customs Committee reported. In the general trade turnover of Azerbaijan, the share of the Commonwealth countries is 8.9 percent.


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