Industrialization and the development of the non-oil industry are among the key directions of President Ilham Aliyev's policy towards economic diversification. In this regard, along with other sectors of the economy, special attention is being paid to the development of industry. Systematic measures are taken to attract existing natural and economic resources to production and broader application of advanced technologies.
In accordance with the policy of industrialization, hundreds of modern industrial enterprises and new production facilities are being set up in Azerbaijan. The share of local products in meeting the domestic demand is significantly increasing and export opportunities are expanding.
At present, the development of the industry through the introduction of innovative models represents particular importance. Advanced mechanisms such as industrial parks and agricultural parks and estates aligned with global challenges open up extensive new opportunities for expanding the production of export-oriented goods, further reducing the dependence on oil and gas, developing competitive industries based on innovative technologies and increasing employment opportunities.
The investment cost of the plant to be built under the “production of sulfuric acid” project of Azersulfat LLC is $6 million. The plant is expected to produce 20,000 tons of acid a year. The plant, which will start operating at the end of this year, will create more than 30 jobs.
The head of state laid the foundation of the enterprise.
It was noted that 5,000-10,000 tons of sulfuric acid were imported to Azerbaijan annually in the last three years alone, and the launch of this plant will help to replace imports with local production. The sulfuric acid will also be exported to Georgia and Russia at further stages.
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One of the residents of the Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park is Glassica Closed Joint-Stock Company. The company will build a plant for the production of glass containers here. The company's products will be used mainly for packaging in the food sector. The $12 million enterprise will provide 160 permanent jobs.
President Ilham Aliyev laid the foundation of the plant.
The head of state was informed that the demand for colored bottles in the domestic market in Azerbaijan varies between 45-50 million units. The plant is expected to produce 60-90 million units of various colored glass containers. In other words, the needs of the domestic market will be fully met and export prospects will emerge.
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The sheet glass plant of Azerfloat CJSC is the first enterprise in Azerbaijan to produce thermoformed glass.
The plant with a total investment value of 100 million euros will produce 80,000 tons of various types of sheet glass per year. The design and equipment of the enterprise are provided by HORN Glass Industries AG, a German company with 135 years of experience in the field of glass melting technology. The company also uses Italian, Finnish and Chinese technologies.
The head of state launched the plant.
It was noted that the current demand for sheet glass in the country is met entirely by imported products. Sheet glass is produced in transparent or colored forms and in small and large sizes. At present, more than 90 per cent of sheet glass in the world – high-quality colored and colorless (transparent), as well as optically pure glass – is produced entirely by thermoforming technology. The most state-of-the-art technologies are already used in this field in Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev then gave an interview to Azerbaijan Television.
- Mr. President, first of all, we should probably view these groundbreaking ceremonies, as well as the start of production, as a continuation of the economic successes following our military and diplomatic victories and as further evidence of the industrialization policy you have identified as a priority. How would you assess the future contribution of the enterprises you have laid the foundation of and the ones that are starting to operate against the background of diversification of the non-oil industry?
- The groundbreaking ceremonies and the launch of these enterprises is of great importance, first of all, for the development of Sumgayit. Sumgayit is not only the second largest industrial city in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus now, but also a modern industrial center. At the same time, all enterprises established in Sumgayit in recent years meet the highest environmental standards. This is of special importance for Sumgayit. Because Sumgayit used to be a place of ecological disaster. When turning Sumgayit into a modern industrial center, we have taken into account people’s health as a matter of priority. As you know, many enterprises built here during the Soviet era had reached the end of their service life, fallen into disrepair and had a very negative impact on the environment. Those enterprises were knocked down and the Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park covering an area of 500 hectares was established ten years ago on this territory on my instruction. In recent years, this industrial park has grown and expanded so much that the order was issued to find additional land, so work in this direction is underway.
I personally laid the foundation of this enterprise in 2017, and I am glad that this large project worth 100 million euros has already been implemented and will free us from the import of sheet glass. This means that currency will stay in our country, local production will be revived, jobs will be created and our economy will be diversified. We have been able to maintain our resilience even at a time when world oil prices are low. At a recent meeting on the results of the year, I noted that our foreign exchange reserves have not decreased, in fact, they have increased, albeit slightly. How? Because the non-oil sector has developed successfully. In all countries of the world, 2020 has been a year of economic recession, and so it was for Azerbaijan. But our decline was only 4.3 percent. In some developed countries, this decline is measured in larger numbers. In our non-oil industry, a growth of 12.5 percent was achieved thanks to such enterprises. Industry, agriculture, the non-oil sector, export opportunities, reduction of the dependence on imports – all these factors have created a new reality today.
Thus, the long-term sustainable development of our country will be ensured. It is no coincidence that I have come here at the beginning of the year. So 2021 begins with victories. Of course, my first visit to the regions was to Shusha, the dearest city for all of us. This has been extensively covered in the media. My second visit is to Sumgayit. I have been to Sumgayit perhaps 30 times in the last 17 years. Every time I am here, the focus is on the launch of industrial enterprises, as well as the work done on urban development, the solution of issues of concern for people. Today, Sumgayit is a beautiful city, both architecturally and ecologically – the air is clean, there is a beautiful boulevard, jobs are being created. More than 350 jobs have been created in these three enterprises alone, and most of the employees will be locals.
By creating these enterprises, we are resolving both today's and future issues. Why not create all the production areas we need in Azerbaijan? Both foreign and local investors should simply have confidence in the future of our country, which has always been the case and still is. There should be a nice investment climate. According to the World Bank's Doing Business report, we are among top 10 most reformist countries and are ranked 28th in the world. There must be stability, there must be unity of the people and the government, there must be peace, there must be security, and we have achieved this. The war is over and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been consigned to history. Therefore, I am confident that the investment in today's Azerbaijan will come, first of all, in the non-oil sector. Because if we managed to attract these investments in previous years when the conflict was still unresolved, it will be easier to do that today.
Also, reforms are underway in our country – personnel reforms, structural reforms, economic reforms, social reforms. There are only a handful of countries in the world that would have as many factors for development as Azerbaijan today. Political stability, the unity of the people and the government, peace, geographical location, infrastructure, trained professionals – this is very important – export markets, good business relations with neighboring countries, no problems with any country whatsoever. I do hope that after some time Armenia will also say that they have no problem with us. Because the main issue was that they had occupied our lands. They committed genocide against us. They destroyed our cities. We simply defended ourselves, defended ourselves at the required level and drove the occupiers out of our lands.
Therefore, a new era has begun in the development of our country. Even though all these factors are in place, we will return to the liberated lands and use the potential of those lands. There is a huge potential – renewable energy, valuable natural resources, gold deposits, copper deposits, rivers, reservoirs, fertile land for agriculture, tourism opportunities. So according to many, these regions will become the driving force of our further development. Of course, I share this opinion. Simply put, everything in the liberated lands must be done in a planned manner, in a proper manner. I have ideas of how the liberated lands can be managed. These ideas will be implemented in the near future. In accordance with the current situation in these regions, a modern management system must be established to ensure that everything is planned – urban planning and the functions of government agencies. Unfortunately, as you know, some unpleasant situations occur in different parts of our country due to a lack of control. In some places, lands are seized, confiscated and unfairly distributed. In addition, water resources are distributed unfairly, some have access to water, others don’t. All this does not suit us. We must and will cleanse ourselves of these flaws. The cleansing process is going on and will go on. Everyone should know this. Let no-one think that they may have special privileges. No-one should consider themselves untouchable. Almost everything in the liberated lands is destroyed. Therefore, we must build a model of development, after which we can transfer it to all other lands, as they say, eliminate the existing shortcomings and ensure the successful development of our country.
Of course, my main focus was on resolving the Karabakh issue and leading the war that started in September as Commander-in-Chief. Today, the restoration of those regions – the Karabakh region – is high on my agenda. And this is not accidental, it is only natural. At the same time, I always focus on my traditional work, and my visit to Sumgayit shows that again.
The war is over, our victorious army has won the war and defeated the enemy. We will do our best to restore the liberated lands. This is the main part of my daily work. But the development of other territories will never be forgotten, the people of Azerbaijan can rest assured. I am confident that we will successfully complete this year and build a stronger Azerbaijan.
- Mr. President, with your permission, we would like to thank our victorious Commander-in-Chief for the victory. You have said that Karabakh will return into a paradise and we have no doubt about that, thank you.
- President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
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Fifteen out of 24 residents already registered at the Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park, the first industrial estate in Azerbaijan and the largest in the South Caucasus, have started production. The positive momentum in the production and export of products at the industrial park continues. In 2020, the park produced goods worth 1.1 billion manats, which is 37 percent higher than in the previous year. Exports have increased by 18 percent compared to 2019 (276 million manats), amounting to 336 million manats in 2020.
Thus, using the example of the enterprises founded and opened in Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park, it can be said with confidence that systematic measures are being taken to attract existing natural and economic resources to production and broader wider application of advanced technologies in accordance with President Ilham Aliyev’s policy of industrialization.
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