The Central Bank’s recent decision on manat has been discussed at today’s meeting of the Azerbaijani Parliament. MP Faraj Guliyev said that the step taken by the Central Bank caused dissatisfactions. He said the citizens concern that this situation is being abused: “The government should launch the anti-crisis program.”
MP Igbal Aghazade also said that recent developments caused price rise and dissatisfaction of people. The MP noted that the decline of manat would also influence personal savings, so compensations should be paid to the citizens.”
Zahid Oruj said CBA’s decision meets the interests of the people: “They also will defend this decision within a month like us. Doing it gradually would have been in favor of the dollar millionaires.”
Speaker Ogtay Asadov stressed that those what are said about damages to personal savings are lies. “The banks exchanged the people’s money within last 1-2 months. The CBA has taken and will take steps to prevent devaluation of manat. There are serious ongoing processes in the world, it’s unknown what will happen tomorrow. At the same time, if we take into account that Azerbaijan is in a state of war, there is no need to create a stir in this regard. However, it is true that several store, supermarket owners are trying to create an artificial price rise. It is inadmissible.”
MP Siyavush Novruzov condemned his colleagues for populism: “There is no need for populism in this regard. The government will itself clarify this issue in its report in March.”
MP Vahid Ahmadov noted that the devaluation of manat had to happen a long time ago, but in a soft form.
“Azerbaijan is the only CIS country that has maintained the stability of its national currency in the long run. Devaluation had to occur regularly. But all of a sudden manat lost 33% value. In such a situation, artificial price hike is commonplace and it will continue to be so. The government must prevent artificially high prices and develop a particular program in this regard. Besides, there is a need to apply deposit protection methods. There are some entrepreneurs who have taken out dollar loans. They might possibly have difficulty repaying their loans. In this respect, the government is supposed to develop anti-crisis measures and carry them out as soon as possible,” he said.
According to MP Gudret Hasanguliyev, law-income families are the most affected by high prices resulting from devaluation. He stressed that this fact should be considered and targeted social assistance be increased.
“At the same time, necessary measures must be taken to decrease the number of social assistance receivers. People must be employed, and they must make their living with own labor so that these expenditures would be reduced on the budget,” said Gudret Hasanguliyev.
Chairman of the parliament’s economic policy committee Ziyad Samadzadeh said the national currency rate was certain to lose value.
“There are particular ongoing processes in the world; the oil price is going down. The Central Bank used to invest USD 2 and 2.5 billion a year. Experts are right to stress that if this situation cannot last long and foreign exchange reserves may be depleted. The amount the Central Bank invests is equal to the state budget of Armenia. Azerbaijan has developed a lot over the last decade. This was possible on account of a proper monetary policy. I would like this policy to be overshadowed now. Because the Central Bank’s investments over the last decade contributed to the economic development and increased the dynamics of social development,” he stressed.
Z. Samadzadeh said issues of price hike resulting from the devaluation of manat have to be dealt with.
“However, these measures not anti-crisis measures but ones aimed against high prices. About 500 small or medium-sized enterprises will be established in Azerbaijan. And the devaluation of manat will help increase the export potential. On one occasion, Azerbaijan managed to cross from 4-digit inflation into 1-digit inflation. I believe Azerbaijan will again get over this situation successfully,” said Z. Samadzadeh.