President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov, ONA reports citing Presidential press-service.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- The development of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is always in the spotlight. I am very pleased with the improvement and creation work under way in the republic. In recent years, Nakhchivan has experienced significant development, major steps have been taken both in the social and economic spheres, and in the field of strengthening industrial potential. This is very gratifying. Especially if we consider that Nakhchivan has been living in the conditions of blockade for many years and is surrounded by the enemy on three sides. Despite this, the republic lives, gets stronger and continues its sustained development path.
Given the difficult geographical location, security measures are of priority importance in Nakhchivan. A lot of work has been done in this direction in recent years. Great strides have been achieved in the field of army building. Today, the Nakhchivan army is equipped with the most modern weaponry, the acquisition of equipment has been organized, and this process continues. What is the current situation on the border with the enemy and what additional work needs to be done to strengthen the military capacity?
Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov said:
- Thank you very much, Mr. President. All this is the result of your successful leadership of the country, your successful continuation of the path of our national leader. On behalf of the people of the Autonomous Republic, let me express our gratitude to you for all this. These days, local conflicts are occurring on the border, but despite this the units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan deployed in the Autonomous Republic, under your leadership and thanks to your care, have covered a long road. The Separate Combined Arms Army has gone from being a corps to a Separate Combined Arms Army. It was established thanks to your care. Today, the army of the Autonomous Republic is properly equipped with the weapons and ammunition being acquired. At present, theoretical work and exercises are under way in the units deployed in the Autonomous Republic in accordance with the adopted plans. Also, work is currently under way in the field of improving the soldier's housing compounds in the Autonomous Republic, work is under way in the field of air defense. In a nutshell, thanks to your care, military units deployed in the Autonomous Republic are fully prepared to fulfill any task to defend it.
President Ilham Aliyev: Has work been done to equip mountain posts?
Vasif Talibov: It is possible to say that roads have been laid to all of them. Some of our posts are equipped in the August-September period. We have communication with all. We have fully provided the necessary supplies until June of next year. There are no problems with service.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. Another important area is the energy sector. A lot has also been done in this direction. Currently, the generating capacity in Nakhchivan is about 220 megawatts, and it is gratifying that most of it relates to renewable forms of energy. The construction of hydro and solar power plants has assumed large proportions. An important project we have been working on for many years is being implemented now. It is being implemented as a result of an agreement signed with the Islamic Republic of Iran – a 36-megawatt Ordubad hydroelectric power station is under construction. I want to ask what has been done in this direction and what additional steps need to be taken in connection with the construction of the station?
Vasif Talibov: Thanks to your attention and participation, on 20 December 2005 gas began to flow into the Autonomous Republic from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Today, about 90,000 households are provided with gas. A lot has also been done in the field of electricity. Whereas in 2003 there was only one power station operating in the Autonomous Republic, there are nine at present. As you noted, six of them relate to renewable energy systems. Whereas in 2003 the Autonomous Republic imported about 1 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, in 2018 it exported about 35 million kilowatt-hours. Therefore, thanks to your attention, work continues in this area and there are no problems. As for the Ordubad hydroelectric power station, a dam has been built and locks installed on the Araz River section in our territory, and work on the canal continues. Negotiations are under way with the Islamic Republic of Iran to begin work on the construction of the dam on the other side. You have allocated funds, there are no problems, work is ongoing.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. This is a truly historic achievement, because Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is geographically separated from the rest of Azerbaijan, in which case energy supply is of particular importance. This is essentially a security issue, and Nakhchivan, which does not have any internal energy resources, now exports electricity. A few years ago, it was impossible even to imagine this, but today it is a reality. I am glad that the share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix is gradually increasing, and after the commissioning of the Ordubad hydroelectric power station, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic will, in principle, provide for its energy needs with renewable energy.
In addition, large funds were allocated for the construction of roads. Roads are built with high quality. I witnessed this myself. The Nakhchivan-Sharur-Sadarak highway was commissioned several years ago. The Nakhchivan-Shahbuz road project has been fully implemented. The Nakhchivan-Julfa road has also been built, and the construction of the Julfa-Ordubad road is currently under way. What has been done in this direction and when is the commissioning of this road expected?
Vasif Talibov: Thank you very much. Thanks to the funds you allocated, work there has begun, the length of the road is 50 kilometers. According to the instruction you issued when approving the project, 11 kilometers are four-lane and the remaining 40 kilometers are two-lane. Currently, earthwork has been completed there, as well as the laying of the first layer of asphalt. Before the end of this year, the laying of the second layer of asphalt will be completed there. With your permission, we will lay the third layer not in winter, but in May-June.
President Ilham Aliyev: Next year?
Vasif Talibov: Yes, so that the road enlarges, settles down, and in May-June it will be completed.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thus, all intercity roads will already meet the highest standards.
Vasif Talibov: Yes, it is possible to say that first category roads are being built at a level that fully meets the standards.
President Ilham Aliyev: Rural roads are also being built, funds have also been allocated for that. They should be provided for in the investment program for next year.
Vasif Talibov: Thank you. In general, in 2003-2019, roads about 2,000 kilometers in length, including rural roads, were built using investment and budget funds.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. This year, 5 million manats were allocated to set up the Sharur industrial estate. What is being done in this direction? There are also plans to build a new carpet factory in Nakhchivan. What has been done in this area? Please update me on that.
Vasif Talibov: Thank you very much. Using the funds you allocated, the design and planning work has already begun in the Sharur Industrial District. We have submitted proposals related to attracting investors in a short period of time. We are waiting for proposals as to what industrial enterprises to build there. It is possible to say that the construction of the first enterprise will begin by the end of this year. First of all, there are plans to build a factory for the production of vegetable oils because the Autonomous Republic fully imports vegetable oils now.
The construction of a carpet factory has been completed. Currently, work continues on the construction of a wool harvesting workshop. Workers have already been hired, trials have begun and carpets are being woven. Work will be completed within one or two months.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. For several years now, Nakhchivan has fully provided itself with grain, and yields are also good. To develop of agriculture, funds have now been allocated for the acquisition of pivot irrigation systems. At the same time, the investment program for this year provides for the construction of an artificial insemination center. The total cost is about 7 million manats. Most of it was to be commissioned this year and funds were provided. What has been done in this area?
Vasif Talibov: Mr. President, I can say that thanks to your attention to this area over the years, underground irrigation networks have been built on an area of about 4,000 hectares, more than 160 artesian wells have been drilled and underground water pipes have been restored in the Autonomous Republic. Whereas in 2003 the area of cultivated land in the Autonomous Republic was 39,900 hectares, after the commissioning of the Heydar Aliyev reservoir and the construction of underground irrigation networks, 62,000 hectares of cultivated land are being used today and the Autonomous Republic can fully provide itself with food. We can say that under your leadership the issues of food, energy and defense have been completely resolved in the Autonomous Republic.
President Ilham Aliyev: Great! At the same time, I am sure that export potential can already be generated. As you know, the Turkish side, having taken an important step, gave instructions on the import of goods from Nakhchivan. I believe that as the production potential of Nakhchivan grows, its export opportunities will expand.
I want to touch upon another issue. Last year, the budget revenues of Nakhchivan amounted to about 400 million manats. Currently, budget issues for the next year are being discussed. Of course, we will do everything necessary for the successful and secure development of Nakhchivan. However, I want to draw your attention to the following matter. Only 22 percent of Nakhchivan’s budget is generated from local revenues, i.e. only 83 million out of 383 million manats are generated from local revenues, while the remaining 300 million manats are subsidized from Baku. I believe that it is necessary to carry out work aimed at increasing local revenues in the coming years, so that their ratio increases. I am sure that this will usher even more opportunities for the implementation of social and industrial projects.
Just like elsewhere in the country, transparency in the financial and economic spheres should be fully ensured in Nakhchivan. I must say that as a result of the reforms, budget revenues have exceeded the plan by 850 million manats in 10 months of this year alone. One half was formed at the expense of customs and the other half at the expense of taxes. These funds are associated exclusively with reforms carried out in management, transparency. They allow us the opportunity to increase salaries, pensions and funds for investment projects. Therefore, when considering the budget for next year, additional steps must be taken to increase the absolute figures of local revenues and to increase the percentage of local revenues in the overall budget.
Vasif Talibov: Regarding the budget for next year, we can say that due to the increase in salaries, the budget has also increased. The revenues have increased by about 12 million manats, i.e. local revenues are about 100 million manats in the 2020 budget. For the payment of pensions and scholarships, the local budget provides for the accumulation of about 100 million manats.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. I am glad that things in Nakhchivan are going well in all directions. I am sure that this momentum will be maintained next year as well. I am convinced that all forces will be mobilized to improve the social well-being of the population of the Autonomous Republic and address the tasks facing the Republic, and 2020 will also be successful for Nakhchivan.