The Azerbaijani government will encourage the creation of special economic zones and industrial parks by the private sector, Azerbaijani Deputy Economy Minister Niyazi Safarov said in an interview with Trend and Azernews.
He noted that according to the plan of measures for implementation of the State Program for the Development of Industry in Azerbaijan in 2015-2020, the country constantly works to create industrial zones in its districts.
Meanwhile, the creation of industrial zones in districts with a view to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is envisaged by the Strategic “roadmaps” for production of foodstuffs at the SME level, approved by a decree of President Ilham Aliyev on Dec. 6, 2016.
Five industrial parks, two high-tech parks, two agro parks, two industrial quarters and one special economic zone have been established in Azerbaijan (some of them have been created and some are in the process of establishment). All of them were created by the funds of the state budget.
Role of industrial parks and zones in development of economy
Safarov noted that the creation of industrial parks and zones is of particular importance in terms of increasing the volume of the economy, the production of import-substituting products and increasing its competitiveness, luring investments, modern technologies, ensuring sustainable development of the non-oil economy and export potential, and increasing employment in the country.
The deputy minister emphasized that the industrial parks and zones created in the country serve these purposes and are a part of the policy to ensure a balanced development of the economy.
Implementation of the industrialization policy through the application of tax and customs privileges for industrial parks, providing them with infrastructure, the low cost of land rental, preferential lending and the simplification of administrative procedures will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the development of the country’s economy, added Safarov.
Industrial parks to focus on production of basic consumer goods
Main challenge for Azerbaijan is to ensure the export-oriented economy, said the deputy minister.
To achieve this goal, he continued, it is necessary to raise the level of competitiveness of goods produced domestically.
“Increasing competitiveness is possible only through competitive pressure formed in the market with an effective competitive environment. Thus, competitive pressure on market participants creates the conditions for increasing productivity and economic efficiency, wide application of technologies and innovations. The industrial parks created in the country serve precisely these purposes,” noted Safarov.
He went on to say that industrial enterprises that already operate, or will operate in the country, will produce the most demanded and most often imported products by Azerbaijan.
“Meanwhile, the goods produced in industrial parks and zones will not only meet the domestic demand, but will also be supplied to foreign countries, which will positively affect the trade balance of the country,” added the deputy minister.