By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
The government provided businesses with preferential loans in the amount of 33.7 million manats ($19.82 million) in first four months of 2019. Concessional loans were provided for the implementation of 215 investment projects worth 145.7 million manats ($85.7 million) to support entrepreneurs in Baku and surrounding villages in general.
A working forum organized by the ministries of economy and agriculture was held on July 18 gave detailed information to entrepreneurs about the mechanism for obtaining concessional loans from the Entrepreneurship Development Fund under the Ministry of Economy.
Concessional loans that have more favorable terms and conditions than those offered by the commercial finance market and government issues them to achieve relevant government policies.
Presentations were held on introductory projects of creating farms for growing olives, saffron, grapes, almonds, logistics centers in Absheron region, with the purpose of developing its economic potential.
Within the framework of the event, Sahib Mammadov, Deputy Minister of Economy informed the participants about the measures which state takes to support the development of the private sector and emphasized the work of the Entrepreneurship Development Fund for the development of the private sector, noting the expansion of business activities in the regions and surrounding settlements of Baku.
This year, 573 businessmen received concessional loans worth 52 million manats ($30.58 million) for the implementation of investment projects with potential to create 2,000 job places and a total cost of 183 million manats ($107.64 million).
Addressing the working forum, Ilham Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Agriculture spoke about the measures taken to develop the agricultural sector, the role of entrepreneurship in this sphere and financial incentives for entrepreneurs.
As a part of the working forum, 15 entrepreneurs working in the territory of the Absheron economic region received concessional loans worth 2.5 million manats ($1.47 million) from the Entrepreneurship Development Fund. The development of livestock breeding, horticulture, viticulture, the production of dried fruits, bread and other business segments will be fed by these loans.
Currently, the fund considers it expedient to credit projects: rural tourism; creating farms of gardening, tobacco growing, beekeeping, including the production of honey by an industrial method; creation of productions for processing hazelnuts and tobacco drying chambers.
Taking into account that small and medium-sized businesses are highly involved in activities counted above, development of these businesses leads to the growth of entrepreneurship, which is one of the priority directions of Azerbaijan’s economic policy.
On August 1, 2018, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree "On improving the mechanism of state support for the development of entrepreneurship." According to the decree, the National Fund for the Support of Entrepreneurship (NFSE) was liquidated. Instead, an Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIF) has been established at the Ministry of Economy. The authorized capital of the new fund is set at 1.94 billion manats ($1.14 billion).
In this period, concessional loans totalling 677.6 million manats ($398.58 million) including loans allocated at the current forum were issued for the implementation of more than 2,700 investment projects of business entities in the Absheron economic region.