President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva attended the inauguration of the Hovsan Residential Complex, the second project of the State Housing Development Agency, March 24.
Chairperson of the State Housing Development Agency, Sadig Sadygov gave information to the President and the First Lady about this complex laid out in Hovsan settlement of Surakhany district, as well as the second phase of the Yasamal Residential Complex, and projects being implemented in Ganja and Sumgait cities.
20 hectares of area was allocated to the Agency in Hovsan settlement in February 2017. In the same year, on December 24, foundation of the first seven-storeys building was laid with participation of President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva. While designing the complex, a wide area was allocated for courtyards and playgrounds for children, paying special attention to greenery planting and improvement. Here were, in general, constructed 11 apartment buildings, of which, 4 are ten-storeys, with one entrance, and 7 seven-storeys, with 18 entrances. The number of apartments in the residential complex is 2962. Of them, 280 are one-room, 1401 two-room, 980 three-room, and 301 four-room apartments. The apartments are offered to citizens with the interior finishing completed, provided with kitchen furniture, and an individual heating system (“combi”) installed.
95 percent of the construction materials used in the construction of the complex are of local production. Based on the request made by the Commission established by Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On actions aiming to strengthen social protection of military servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, 436 apartments were allocated at the Complex in order to provide military servicemen with housing.
Here has been constructed a school building for 1920 pupils. All conditions have been ensured in the school building to engage in the education of pupils. Classrooms have been provided with necessary teaching equipment. The facilities provided at this education establishment shows that works carried out in the country towards strengthening of the material and technical basis of the education system have been of consecutive nature. And all these have resulted in the education system of Azerbaijan stepping into a new phase.
Two kindergartens, each designed for 90 children, were constructed at the complex. Extensive possibilities have been ensured here in order for children to spend their free time and rest efficiently.
The Hovsan Residential Complex is the second project of the Agency. Sale of apartments in the Yasamal Residential Complex, the first project, has been completed. Thus, in general, 1654 families have improved their living conditions, by acquiring an affordable housing.
After the familiarization with the Hovsan Residential Complex, President Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to the Azerbaijani Television.
An Interview with President Ilham Aliyev
- Nice to see you, Mister President.
- Thank you. Nice to see you, too.
- Mister President, although the oil price in the world market has plummeted, all large-scale social projects in Azerbaijan are implemented successfully under Your leadership, following your initiative, and the completion of this grandiose Hovsan project is an obvious example of it. Could You please give us information about the works being carried out in the country in this direction?
- Yes, Azerbaijan has been continuing its social policy successfully. I have told and want to say once more that regardless of reduction in the oil price, all social obligations will be met this year, and the following years. All social infrastructure projects will be implemented, and there is no reason for a concern. This big residential complex, constructed through the State Housing Development Agency, once more proves this.
The foundation of this complex was laid 2 years earlier. Having performed works successfully during the period past, now the complex is being commissioned. There are some 3 thousand apartments, a big school building for 2 thousand pupils, 2 kindergartens, an outpatient clinic in the complex, with all conditions ensured for living, which has been formed as a little town. Approximately, 12-15 thousand people are going to live here. This once more shows that social infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan are executed on a high level, and with high quality.
As to our social policy at large, I have repeatedly noted that our strong economy allows us to implement all projects and programmes we have declared in the social sphere. I think last year was a very mentionable year. As you know, due to the increase in the minimum-wage and minimum pensions, 4.2 million people, including those receiving allowances from the state, have improved their material condition significantly. The minimum-wage was increased 2 folds, with the minimum pension increased by 70 percent. Today, Azerbaijan is in the first place among the CIS countries by the procurement power of the minimum pension. Of course, we are not satisfied with the current level yet. I am sure, more resources would be allocated to this sphere in future as a result of the actions to be taken.
At the same time, social infrastructure projects are implemented this year. This big village is one of them. Moreover, we plan to provide IDP families with a record number of apartments – 7 thousand, last year, 5 thousand apartments were constructed. 1500 apartments will be provided to martyr’s families. I think, the martyr’s families who have been registered for housing to date will be provided with apartments in a matter of a few years, and this programme will be completed too.
Other socially-oriented projects too are implemented in the country, at the same time, as you know, the DOST centres are opened in order to improve the social provision, and ensure transparency in this sphere. 2 centres have been functioning already, and citizens’ liking factor is quite high. Establishment of over 30 such centres, in general, will lead to great progress in this sphere from the institutional standpoint. That is to say, as the social sector is a big area, practical steps are made on every direction of it, programmes announced are fulfilled, and none of the promises remains unperformed. All promises are kept, and I am sure greater works will be done in this direction, both this year, and the following years.
- My next question is about the coronavirus pandemic which has spread all over the world. Measures are being taken in Azerbaijan to prevent the pandemic. These actions are under Your constant control, and the public is being regularly informed in detail. They disseminated more news yesterday. Mister President, could You please give us information about the works carried out in this regard to date.
- You know, I have told my opinion openly about this and would like to stress once more that due to taken preventive measures, we have been keeping it under control so far. Nevertheless, we all are informed about the processes going on around the globe, and this pandemic has led to very tragic results even in the big cities of developed countries. In some countries, 500 to 600 people are dying daily. This means, that even the most developed countries cannot feel safe in this situation. Therefore, very concrete decisions taken by us and the roadmap, I think, allowed us to keep the situation under control to date. Since the very beginning, we paid very serious attention to this issue. We started preparation works at a time when this disease was spreading far from us. As you know, the Operational Staff was established under the Cabinet of Ministers. This staff has been operating 24 hours a day, informing citizens about the measures taken on a regular basis, following my instructions. At the same time, we have been keeping direct contact with the World Health Organization. Following our invitation, representatives of this organization came to Azerbaijan to become familiar with the situation in the country. They highly appreciated the works done by the Azerbaijani government. Of course, their recommendations are important for us. A number of decisions we have made are based on their recommendations, expertise, and the negative practice of the countries where this pandemic has spread widely. We should not and do not repeat mistakes of others. We closed all our land boundaries immediately, at the same time, made practical steps towards returning our citizens being abroad to Azerbaijan. To date, ten thousand Azerbaijani citizens were returned to the homeland. The number of flights dropped abruptly, and very few flights are preformed currently, which is also a part of the preventive actions.
We have purchased new laboratories. Probably, everybody knows that procurement medical accessories and equipment has become an issue, as all countries want to buy them, with the number of producers’ not being so big. Therefore, by purchasing these laboratories on time, bringing tests into the country, we secured better possibilities. Over ten hospitals were allocated for those put in a quarantine regime, and also the people who had contacted the virus. Such hospitals are both in Baku city and in different regions of the country. Schools, kindergartens and higher schools have been closed for a long time. Operating schedule of catering objects is limited. Talking all about these measures takes much time, but information is given about them on a regular basis.
We have increased the salaries of doctors taking care of the patients, in order to improve their material condition, as well as worthily appreciate their labour. They are going to receive 3 to 5 folds of their salaries, and instructions have been given and funds allocated for this purpose. Taking this opportunity, I want to once more thank the Azerbaijani doctors. They have been showing indeed an example of great heroism, jeopardizing their lives and health, honestly fulfilling their duties. I call on all our citizens to support our doctors, and appealing to those infected I recommend them -of course we understand that both their physical and psychological condition are affected by this disease – to be attentive to doctors.
We have taken all measures needed. And I think that the additional restrictive measures announced on 14th March and yesterday are actions taken on time, because we take our steps depending on the situation. At the same time, by taking these measures to prevent the situation from taking a negative turn, we are saving ourselves. We have to save our state, our people, especially the old people. Some restrictions have been imposed on their movements. I think they would understand this, as the old people is at the high risk group.
Mobilisation of social workers is planned, following my instruction, in order to ensure provision of old lonely people, and they will do this job. At the same time, taking this opportunity, I want to call on the army of volunteers of many thousands. I think our volunteers too have to join these activities, contact the Operational Staff and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population. The ministry has been instructed to provide service to the elderly at the places of their residence, be it medicine or foodstuff, in order to save elderly people living lonely.
I think, traditions, national values of our people will help us fight against this virus. The elderly have always been shown great respect. In rare cases, old people live alone. The number of such people in Azerbaijan is not big, being a few thousand. Nevertheless, their provision is also planned.
In short, I think all the works we have done to date are timely and correctly made steps. The state has been and will be doing its best. Nonetheless, much depends also on the citizens how well we can combat this disease. I call once more on citizens to be responsible, to follow the new rules, the special quarantine regime, and take this issue very seriously. They need to know that not only their own health but also those of their relatives depend on them. The state does everything possible. However, responsible and disciplined behaviour of our citizens would make our struggle more goal-oriented, and successful.
- Mister President, the Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus was established by Your order. You and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva donated your yearly salary to this Fund. This is a very good example. Individuals and entities have been donating money to this fund. How do you value this?
- You know, Azerbaijan showed the first example in this field. According to the information I was given this morning, similar funds are established in some other countries. We can only be glad to this. Because this is not the first time that the initiative put forward by Azerbaijan is taken over by other countries, making them take the same actions.
The primary objective of establishing the Fund was to strengthen the national solidarity further. It is not secret that Azerbaijan is a strong state today, with quite big financial capacity. Look, this nice town-building project is an obvious example. A number of works requiring big funding are being carried out. The primary objective of establishing the Fund is that every citizen shows his/her civil position within their capacity, showing solidarity, in order that solidarity and kindness - one of the main pillars of our society - is manifested. We showed to ourselves and to the whole world that we are a great people.
I am glad that the donations made for a short span of time reached quite big figures. 20 million Manats were allocated from the President’s Reserve Fund at the time of establishing the Fund. The Fund has been receiving donations for already several days. But, according to the information I was given yesterday evening, 60 million Manats were collected into the Fund already. This shows how great and high qualities our people has.
Following my instruction, names of all citizens and companies are shown on the website “koronavirus.az”, in an alphabetical order, with the amount of donation made. We are all equal, and regardless of the cash donated, names of all people and companies are published in an alphabetical order.
Taking this opportunity, I want to deeply thank all people and companies that have made donations to the Fund to date. This once more shows our unity and strength, and that we will fight this disease by our joint efforts.
- Dear President, by Your Resolution, one billion Manats were allocated to the Cabinet of Ministers. To what extent would this funds contribute stimulation of the economy?
- Of course, we have thought also about this. Among the measures taken, the issue concerning employment is in the foreground. Because, it is no secret that now countries are forced to isolate themselves, and economic ties are cut and broken. Nevertheless, transportation of goods is so far normal, but weakening of economic ties and economic activity may, of course, have a negative impact on employment, most of all. Therefore, the primary objective of allocating one billion Manats aims to support entrepreneurship, and ensure the state’s financial support to entrepreneurs who have suffered from the disease, and its consequences.
We have, at the same time, made very serious appeals. Taking this opportunity, I would like to make these appeals to all entrepreneurs today not to reduce their personnel, as in today’s conditions, this would conflict with our initiative for solidarity. But, of course, if the entrepreneurs’ activities are restricted, they will suffer damage, and here the state should come to their aid, and support them. The state will do it. The most vulnerable group of entrepreneurs will be provided with special financial support, granting them tax concessions, and other privileges. Nonetheless, our primary demand and recommendation is that entrepreneurs do not lay off their staff. Therefore, citizens will be given information on a regular basis how these one billion Manats are spent. The issue of employment is in the foreground, and macroeconomic stability should be secured.
We have started this year with very good outcomes, good indices. Inflation rate is just 2.8 percent, with the increase in the population’s income being 9 percent. The economy has enjoyed 2.8 percent growth, with 6.7 percent in the non-oil sector. Industrial production in the non-oil sector has increased by 21.7 percent. That is to say we have started the year with very good indices. The tax and customs authorities have collected 250 million Manats in excess of the forecast. But, we understand well that as if there is a limit on the tendency, as we cannot have growth with these rate. Therefore, these facilities will be used in order to maintain the macroeconomic condition. At the same time, these facilities will be used for the development of entrepreneurship, supporting entrepreneurs, and keeping our general financial condition stable. In this field too, taking this steps, Azerbaijan was the first in the region, where it is situated.
I want to once more note that all the works carried out by the state serve only for one purpose that we come out of this difficult condition with less losses. Nevertheless, at the same time, every citizen should know that the practice of leading countries of Europe shows that in case of lack of unity between the government and the citizens, we’ll have to live the grave outcomes of this disease. To date, we have secured our development thanks to the people-state unity. Azerbaijan’s main leverage is the people-state unity. Our policy has always been supported by the people, and we see this support today too. The only thing we requirefrom our citizens is responsibility. Please be responsible, support your relatives, friends, support and save the adults, protect yourselves, protect your children. A special quarantine regime was applied yesterday, follow it. I am sure, both national solidarity and responsibility and our national unity will help us combat this disease. We are strong together.
- Thank You very much, Mister President. We thank You for answering our questions.
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Under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, rapid development has been secured recent years in Azerbaijan in all spheres, ensuring multilateral progress in the country. Today, Azerbaijan is among rare countries where social projects are implemented successfully, and this process has been of successive nature. All these were possible thanks to the President’s efforts. President Ilham Aliyev has been paying special attention at improving the social welfare of the population further, keeping works done in this sphere in the focus of attention. Measures taken in the country in the social sphere are distinguished by their scale and significance. All necessary works have been carried out by the state in order to maintain the successive nature of the steps taken towards strengthening the social protection of population, and these works are going on. From this perspective, commissioning of the Hovsan Residential Complex, the second project of the State Housing Development Agency, is of special importance. Implementation of this project is another example of President Ilham Aliyev’s approaching the solution of social issues of the population with high care and attention. This project is of significance in terms of improving housing conditions of citizens, and ensuring the construction of apartment buildings in a contemporary architectural style meeting ecological requirements, and being efficient in terms of saving energy.