A qualitatively new stage of industrialization has begun in Azerbaijan with announcement of 2014 as the year of industry in the country.
Addressing a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the results of socio-economic development in the first half of 2014 and objectives of future, Azerbaijan's Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev said a state program on industrial development in 2015-2020, has been prepared.
The program includes long-term direction of development reflected in the concept of "Azerbaijan 2020: vision for the future".
"In addition, some works have been done on strengthening of industrial capacities, increasing of competitiveness, improving human resources and scientific support and completion of regulatory framework in accordance with an approved plan for this year," Mustafayev said.
He further said a contract was signed as part of these measures for offering consulting services in connection with the creation of "Azerbaijan's complex for the steel production".
"The works on creation of the complex, the efficient organization of the existing production facilities and improvement of material-technical base are going on in accordance with the schedule. This complex, which will cover all stages - from the mining of iron ore to steel production- will meet the domestic demands for steel products and cast iron," Mustafayev said.
He noted that the production of steel and polyethylene pipes has started in Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park.
Mustafayev went on to say that negotiations with potential investors, assessment of their projects aimed at attracting new residents, the organization of production of chemical products for the spheres such as construction, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and other are underway.
He also added that the works are underway on formation of legal basis for establishment of Minchechevir and Ganja industrial parks.
Mustafayev noted that the volume of production in the non-oil industry in the first six months of the year increased by 4.2 percent compared with the same period last year.
Speaking about the production of construction materials, he said this rose by 16.8 percent, cement production increased by 39 percent. "Demand for cement will be fully provided through domestic production till the end of the year."
Mustafayev further said about 98 percent of concessional financing of entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan goes to small businesses.
"The Economy and Industry Ministry together with the relevant authorities had prepared and submitted for consideration a package of amendments to the existing legislation. The package is related to the execution of orders, as reflected in the presidential decree 'On additional measures for the development of entrepreneurship', which was signed this March," Mustafayev noted.
"Its implementation will increase the investment attractiveness of the country and reduce the time costs for procedures directly affecting the business climate in Azerbaijan," he said.
Mustafayev added that through National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support (NFES) over 2600 entrepreneurs received preferential loans in the amount of 129 million mantas. As a result of the loans, up to six thousand jobs will be created.
"About 79 percent of loans fall on regions of the country, and the rest 21 on percent Baku's settlements. Some 84 percent of the funds allocated by the NFES were directed agrarian the sector. Besides, Azerbaijani entrepreneurs will receive preferential loans in the amount of 280 million mantas during the year," Mustafayev said.
Referring to cooperation with credit unions to provide the small businesses with an access to the concessional financing, Mustafayev added that the establishment process of such organizations in the regions of the country is going ahead.