What does Ilham Aliyev try to achieve?

By Vestnik Kavkaza
What does Ilham Aliyev try to achieve?

In mid-October, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev voiced several radical initiatives related to economic reform at once. The main ones were personnel reform and optimization of economic structures. In particular, the Ministry of Taxes, the Property Committee, the Antimonopoly Policy and Consumer Market Control Agency were included in the structure of the Ministry of Economy, which was headed by Mikail Jabbarov, who previously worked as Deputy Minister of Economics, Minister of Education and Minister of Taxes.

His activity in reforming the tax system, which now ensures its transparency and uniform rules for business circles, has given the president grounds to send Jabbarov to increase.

When dismissing veterans of Azerbaijani politics, who were replaced by new cadres, Ilham Aliyev noted that those in power who have reached retirement age, in any case, who are over 70 years old, should follow their example. Many admit that, indeed, in almost every ministry, officials over the years have grown in business interests, and therefore, 40-50-year-old professionals have gradually begun to occupy key posts in the government. The last word is a key one, and a striking example of such an official is precisely Jabbarov, during the appointment of which the head of the Ministry of Economy, already nicknamed by experts as "superministerism," Aliyev, in fact, delivered a keynote speech explaining the essence of the reforms.

He emphasized that economic independence is at the heart of political independence: “If our economy depended on external circles, we could not have a successful political course ... Today, Azerbaijan does not depend on anyone, nor on any country as in the economic, in political terms, it pursues a principled independent policy that ensures the interests of the Azerbaijani people. In order to protect the interests of the Azerbaijani people, state interests from all international stands, we must have the economy "... We were also pressured, but we were able to withstand it, put up resistance, spoke our word, and no pressure, no threat can affect our policy."

Indeed, Azerbaijan initiated and executed several powerful regional and interregional projects - logistics and energy, and in the latest report of the Davos World Economic Forum took one of the leading places in terms of trust in the authorities. However, the main part of the Azerbaijani economy is occupied by the oil and gas sector, due to the development of which Baku was able to implement major infrastructure and social projects and strengthen the army.

Azerbaijan’s oil and gas reserves are still quite high, but Baku wants the current period of development of the country to be called “post-oil and gas”. The oil and gas pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum, the Southern Gas Corridor will bring tangible benefits to the country, but in Baku they intend to seriously build a sustainable economy based on the non-oil sector, and the Ministry of Economy will play the leading role in this.

Azerbaijanis are not satisfied with the current economic growth rates - oil production has declined somewhat, as a result of which a certain slowdown is observed in the gross domestic product - and therefore there is no alternative to reforms, including personnel. “We will not be able to achieve success with old thinking. Of course, new, competent, knowledgeable, modern personnel, first of all, should be tied to their homeland, free from any external influence,” Aliyev is sure. “We should try to create such conditions so that every talented person who has a vocation, an interest in business, can do this, be free from pressure and interference of officials. "

One way or another, today the majority of observers agree that structural and personnel reforms in Azerbaijan are just beginning, and therefore we should expect further personnel changes and, possibly, reduction of managerial personnel. Reforms are a complex process, but Azerbaijan has enormous potential for economic growth and, in the event of a favorable development of events, success is guaranteed.