One of the most important issues that have risen following the formation of the independent Azerbaijani State was the implementation of radical reforms in the social sphere. Concrete steps are being taken to increase and improve the legal basis in this field in the country.
In recent years, the Head of State has consistently signed orders and decrees to broaden the social protection of the people to enable them to have a better life and increased prosperity. These decrees have been duly enforced. In addition to boosting the State support to increase the annual incomes of the citizens, the housing conditions of vulnerable families, the disabled, the martyrs’ families and IDPs are improving every year. In a word, the social policy is defined as a priority in the home policy of the country, and this tradition is, these days, continuing successfully.
Another progressive step made in this field by President Ilham Aliyev has helped many people wishing to buy a flat. Thus, in order to meet the housing needs of the citizens, improve their housing conditions and improve the public management in the construction fields, the State Housing Development Agency, under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, has been established.
We have asked Samir Nuriyev, Director of the State Housing Development Agency, under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to provide detailed information about the organization of the Agency’s work, how? – And, in which procedure? - the flats will be constructed, the model envisaged for selling flats to citizens, the factors that are considered while choosing the sites for the flats and the importance of the first low cost flats, in solving the housing problems of the citizens and other issues. He noted that the main objective of the Agency is to create conditions for Azerbaijani citizens to buy flats on preferential terms, whilst organizing the construction of apartment houses, and to fulfill the State policies and the regulation in the field of planning, projecting urban development and ensuring architectural issues in this field. Since the first day of the creation of the Agency, the overall work has started in all its activities.
The Agency’s Director has noted the serious control and support from the State in implementing the construction of apartment houses as part of its wider project. He said: “The particular attention of distinguished President Ilham Aliyev to ensure the construction of social flats and present those low cost flats to vulnerable families opens up opportunities to successfully implement this project. At the same time, it increases further our responsibility by assigning important tasks to us. Therefore, the Agency will ensure the proper fulfillment of those tasks and make all possible efforts to achieve the defined targets. Today, the necessary actions are being made to organize the construction of social flats. First of all, these actions envisage choosing sites for the construction of buildings, planning projecting and construction works and setting up of a sustainable financial model to present flats on long term preferential terms”.
As we know, practical steps are already made for the construction of the first houses. Having inspected several places, a concrete site has been defined to start the project implementation. Thus, the first flats to be constructed to improve housing conditions of the citizens will be located on a site of 11.6 h, near the external ring road in the Yasamal district of Baku city. The site, defined by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, is given for use by the MIDA Limited Liability Company, subordinated to the Agency, and acting as a customer in the construction of the apartment houses. It is expected that the construction work will have commenced by the end of this current year, and according to first estimates, the development will have almost 2 thousand flats.
We learned during conversation that until the selection of the first site for the construction of buildings, e.g. during the past several months, the Agency’s specialists have inspected many sites in various parts of Baku city and have chosen some of them for the construction of low cost flats, following their evaluation of these sites against the relevant professional criteria. Whilst selecting sites for the construction of buildings, first of all, the development prospective of the city has been taken into consideration by relying upon the urban development norms and legislative requirements of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Also, the proximity of these sites to the business centers, as well as to the presence of transport, engineering and communication networks and other infrastructure facilities in this zone, were a focus of attention. Up to now, over a dozen sites have been inspected in the Binagadi, Surakhany and Garadakh districts of Baku. The first evaluations these sites have been conducted against various criteria (such as parameters, topography, transport and existence of other infrastructure etc.) It should be noted that social housing will be developed, not only in the capital, but also in the regions. Therefore, specialists of the State Housing Development Agency have also conducted the evaluation of sites offered in such cities as Ganja, Sumgayit, Lenkoran, Masally and Shamkir.
Samir Nuriyev stated that it is quite a complicated process to ensure the construction management of apartment buildings, which requires a comprehensive approach. To organize effectively this work, first of all, meetings are held with government organizations and local executive authorities. As it was in the selection of sites where flats were to be built, the principles of comfort and other necessary criteria will also be given preference in their construction. During the construction, both modern architectural styles, and also, in particular, ecologically friendly and energy efficiency factors will be considered. Living places in selected sites will be projected in the format of developments. Besides apartment houses in these developments, all conditions that are necessary for the comfort of residents will be created. Projecting and construction of large courtyards, green zones, children’s playgrounds, social infrastructure (such as a school, kindergarten etc.) will also be implemented.
He added that many developed nations of the world have considerable experience in meeting the need for improved housing conditions for their populations. In managing the building projects, preference will be given to those countries with relevant expertise, such as Germany, Singapore, Turkey, Russia and others. Several meetings have already taken place. The study of the relevant practices worldwide will make it possible to effectively manage and conduct the Agency’s work.
Another question related to apartment complexes, which is of the most interest for citizens, is related to which social groups and on which terms such flats will be put on sale. Speaking about this matter, Samir Nuriyev said that the main purpose is to increase access for young people, young families, including low and medium income citizens related to other social categories to the apartments which are to be built. Relevant conditions will be created for the acquisition of these flats in the future, on the basis of long term monthly payment terms. Citizens will become the full owners of the flats at the end of the period that requires the payment of a monthly sum, which will not be too high and will be the same level of rental charges.
Samir Nuriyev also noted that the relevant work of the Agency with other State organizations is underway to establish and finance the long term payment system related to the sale of apartments. He said: “As instructed by Mister President Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani Mortgage Fund Open Joint Stock Company is expected to be the main financial source. According to the Decree signed recently by the Head of State, the representation of the State Housing Development Agency in the Supervisory Board of the Azerbaijani Mortgage Fund OJSC will ensure the coordinated functioning of the future system, by turning it into a sustainable platform. At the same time, opportunities of cooperation with State-owned banks of the country are being evaluated, to ensure long term financing of sales of the apartments.”
The Decree of the Head of State on preparation of the Azerbaijan 2020: Look into the Future Development Concept signed on 29 November 2011 and projects aimed at its implementation have already produced results. None of the relevant criteria are left out of that Development Concept. One of the main aims in that document is to form a diversified, effective and innovative economy, ensuring a preceding development trend in the social sphere and bringing prosperity to the population up to leading international standards.
The construction of the first ever social scheme apartments in Azerbaijan, ensuring that these apartments are provided for low income families on preferential terms, and improving their housing conditions are among such projects. The construction and development operations conducted in the framework of the project will also impact positively on the development of the country’s construction sector. It will stimulate the production, application and use of construction materials and equipment and ensure the provision of new jobs. It will make this sector more attractive for investments. In its turn, it can enhance the development of the nation’s industrial potential.