Minister: Our investments are directed at reducing imports and bring our products to the world market
“In the near future, we think to implement projects that are profitable for Azerbaijan.”
Interview of Minister of Communications and High Technologies Ali Abbasov for APA’s Turkish correspondent
- Your ministry features transparency in modern infrastructure, technology investments and working methods. How did you achieve it?
- One of the main goals of our ministry is to strengthen Azerbaijan’s export potential. To this end, we have adopted laws and regulations necessary for creation of modern business conditions. Today, there are a lot of benefits and incentives for production of high-tech, innovative products and bringing them to foreign markets. Access to financial resources is much easier. We are also trying to bring Azerbaijani and Turkish companies together, create opportunities for them in the implementation of joint projects in order to benefit from Turkey’s experience and achievements in the development of market economy.
-Does the country have financial problems with new investments? Such a problem is not seen in Azerbaijan’s major projects implemented in Turkey, how is the situation in IT sphere?
- It is true that, today, Azerbaijan gives preference to energy and transport projects in the region. But to expand our presence in the market, we must take new steps in the high-tech field using available opportunities, we are doing it, and it is our goal. Despite the fact that our country has enough financial resources, we must consider the decline in oil prices, which to some extent, brings about restriction in financial resources coming to the country. Therefore, in the near future we think to implement projects that are profitable for Azerbaijan. We render support to the projects proposed to bring products to the market that will replace the imported goods and to export some part of products produced. In this process we are cooperating not only with companies producing modern technologies, but also with international financial institutions. We can obtain loans from international banks at very cheap and affordable terms. We use the support of banks, but the main condition for us is that we want the projects to bring benefits. Main condition for us is to return the expenses spent on investment. We have begun the implementation of new projects within these criteria. Cooperation with Turkish companies in this direction is of great importance for us.
-We can see that Azerbaijan is a leader in the field of investments in infrastructure and high technologies in the region. What is the main factor impeding economic integration between the countries of the Caucasus?
- Political relations between countries are an obstacle to the successful implementation of regional economic projects which is the most important factor. In any case, to establish warm political relations between the countries in Eurasia region is not so easy. There are countries with different political structure. At the same time, there are countries with different relations. Therefore, I would like once again to draw attention to the need for political relations in the implementation of regional projects. It is clear to everybody that Armenia is known for its aggressive policy in our region. We can also see conflicts, not economic and political stability and social peace in most other countries. All these are factors that prevent integration in the region. But I am sure that the policy pursued under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev allows elimination of many barriers and will eliminate in the future as well.
- What encouragement do you provide for major foreign firms you are cooperating with? Will you continue this work in the future?
-We have taken necessary steps to attract foreign investments in the country. We have already created a legal basis which is primary condition for this. We have functional mechanisms for the implementation of the legal framework. Protection of intellectual property and simplification of customs procedures is very important in the field of investments in high technologies. To provide easy access to cheap financial resources is also another factor to succeed. We have done all of this. The most important thing is to ensure normal relations between countries, it is very important for us. Azerbaijani President and the government has taken necessary steps in this direction and will continue this work in future.