By Kamila Aliyeva
The Government of Azerbaijan has already started work on creation of Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), said Vusal Gasimli, the executive director of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications.
"There are different models [of a similar structure], for example, German, Turkish or South Korean models. We attracted foreign experts and together we study possible models that can be applied in Azerbaijan," Gasimli said at a press conference in Baku on April 20.
He stressed that the creation of the Agency will allow improving the state policy in the sphere of small and medium business and reducing the government's expenses in this direction.
The issue of creating a centralized agency for SMEs in the country is reflected in the Strategic Road Map for the manufacture of small and medium entrepreneurship-level consumer goods.
The management of the Agency will include both representatives of the state and private sectors. Subsequently, in 2017-2018, it is planned to create a SME House under the Agency, where a special center providing entrepreneurs with services on the principle of a "single window," a training center, a representative office of the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), departments of international organizations and other instances will be located.
The establishment of the Centralized Agency for SMEs will require 10 million of investment that will increase GDP by 200 million and will create 240 jobs.
Financing of SMEs in Azerbaijan is carried out by a number of organizations, including the National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support, State Agency for Agricultural Credit, banks and non-bank credit organizations.
Moreover, a number of international financing organizations such as the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Cooperation allocate credits for the support of small and medium entrepreneurship in the country.
By 2020 the SME sector is expected to form 15 percent of GDP, 10 percent of non-oil export and 20 percent of employment in Azerbaijan and by 2025 – 35 percent, 40 percent and 25 percent respectively.
After 2025 the share of SMEs in GDP is expected to increase up to 60 percent and in employment up to 70 percent.