Annual report of the Cabinet of Ministers: Contributions of systematic and continuous activity

Prime Minister Novruz Mammadov submitted the report on the Cabinet of Ministers` activities in 2018 to the parliament. The report was greeted with interest by members of the Milli Majlis. The prime minister gave a systematic analysis of the government`s activities last year. The report highlighted the government`s commitment to the country`s strategic development policy. The government did its utmost to fulfill all the tasks set by the President. The analysis of the prime minister`s report shows that the government made great strides in all areas in 2018. This article will feature a thorough analysis of these accomplishments.

Socio-political and socio-economic life: Prime minister`s modern approach

Experts were looking forward to the Azerbaijani government`s annual report on its activities in 2018. They were anticipating the new prime minister to deliver the report and provide figures on Azerbaijan`s accomplishments in the year full of controversies. Most importantly the report gave a comprehensive description of the programs implemented in the country and their results.

Prime Minister Novruz Mammadov highlighted close linkage between the country`s socio-political and socio-economic life in 2018, saying the government took a systematic approach to the issue. The prime minister said: "The year 2018 was full of great achievements and landmark historic events in Azerbaijan`s socio-political and socio-economic life. The 100th anniversary of the founding of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first democratic republic in the East, was solemnly celebrated last year. In the April presidential election, our wise people made the rightest choice to re-elect IlhamAliyev as head of state. By making this choice, citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan reaffirmed their support for socio-political stability, sustainability and dynamic development and people-government unity, which was ensured as the result of the policy pursued in the best national interests. After the presidential election, the head of state determined the new composition of the government, and declared the strategic tasks and targets to be fulfilled."

We believe this briefly describes the government`s responsible and comprehensive approach to its activities. And it is the policy pursued under the leadership of the President that lies at the heart of this approach. The prime minister gave an exact description of the key events in the country`s socio-political and socio-economic life. By highlighting the centenary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the presidential election as major events in Azerbaijan`s socio-political life, the prime minister pointed out logical connection between the statehood tradition and modern governance in 2018. Our people, who solemnly marked the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, demonstrated the same confidence, loyalty and will to vote for Ilham Aliyev. This factor was the cornerstone of the country`s political and socio-economic successes last year.

In this context, the prime minister stressed the importance of the President`s determining the new composition of the Azerbaijani government. In Azerbaijan, activities in all areas are built on legal foundations. President Ilham Aliyev managed to form the government capable of realizing his programs. The report provides a factual and systematic account of the contributions of such an approach. The prime minister said that strategic tasks and goals set by the President lie at the heart of the Cabinet of Ministers` activities. Another important aspect is that "despite ongoing tension in the international relations system, a pragmatic foreign policy meeting modern challenges increased Azerbaijan`s influence as well as the number of countries supporting it''. Here, the prime minister pointed out that close connection between the country`s internal and foreign policy continued in 2018. It is certainly very important in terms of modern democratic governance.

In this context, Novruz Mammadov drew the MPs` attention to the government`s efforts towards settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said documents adopted in bilateral and multilateral formats affirmed support for Azerbaijan`s sovereignty, territorial integrity and internationally-recognized borders. The prime minister also highlighted the signing of the Partnership Priorities document between Azerbaijan and the European Union, describing it as "an integral part of the well thought-out systematic activity''.

President`s instructions and the government`s activity: in facts

Novruz Mammadov then rightly hailed the inauguration of the Southern Gas Corridor in May 2018, attended by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the official opening of TANAP project, which involves Turkey, and stressed the importance of the signing of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea for the energy security and geopolitical and geoeconomic situation. These factors reflect Azerbaijan`s active role in the geopolitical dynamics and the country`s sincere commitment to regional cooperation.

Within its competence, the Cabinet of Ministers strongly supported this highly-effective policy and tried its best to fulfill its tasks. The rightest and most objective assessment of this activity was given by President Ilham Aliyev at the meeting on results of the Cabinet of Ministers last year. The head of state "deeply and thoroughly analyzed the activities of the government to highly praise the results, and said that 2018 was the year of deep economic reforms''.

The prime minister provided all the facts and figures. For example, macroeconomic stability was ensured in 2018, with the economic growth making 1.4 percent. The non-oil sector increased 1.8 percent. "The non-oil sector accounted for more than 11 million manats or 65.5 percent of the total of 17.2 billion manats invested in the fixed capital last year." Novruz Mammadov said 69.7 percent of the funds invested in the non-oil sector came from internal sources. It is a serious success for a young country. This means that Azerbaijan has boosted its development process thanks to its internal potential. It is a role model for the South Caucasus.''

"In addition, inflation was 2.3 percent in 2018. Against this background, the population`s nominal incomes grew 9.2 percent. Azerbaijan`s foreign exchange reserves reached 45 billion US dollars. Last year consolidated budget revenues made 31.4 billion manats, while expenditures made 26.3 billion manats, and a 6.4 percent budget surplus was achieved in the gross domestic product.''

The prime minister said: "It is a well-known fact that the continuous improvement of the well-being of the low-income layer of the population is the cornerstone of President Ilham Aliyev`s socio-economic policy. Special importance was attached to this last year. Social spending accounted for 31.7 percent or 7.2 billion manats of the state budget, which is 7.6 percent more than in 2017.'' This is a very interesting and telling factor proving that Azerbaijan is a socially-oriented state. It`s not a coincidence that human capital occupies a central place in Azerbaijan`s development strategy. In this context, the prime minister`s providing an insight into the government`s successful efforts to improve the well-being of the low-income people is praiseworthy.

Novruz Mammadov said the pension increase covered a total of 1.2 million pensioners. "Average monthly pensions grew 6.2 percent, while average age pensions saw a 6.7 percent increase. The implementation of a specific program contributed to the improvement of the well-being of more than 5,000 families or nearly 25,000 people. The disabled and families of martyrs were embraced with an increased government care. Different socially-oriented programs were successfully implemented.''

Novruz Mammadov provided an insight into specific results of the programs that were implemented in all areas of the society`s life, including energy projects, transport routes, science, education, healthcare, culture, tourism, sport and others. The implementation of these projects has played a crucial role in ensuring Azerbaijan`s national security. In this context, modernization of the legal basis of entrepreneurial activity and improvement of business environment is of vital importance.

The prime minister said: "Purposeful activities were carried out in 2018 under the leadership of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev to increase the country`s military-industrial potential, improve army building, supply the armed forces with state-of-the-art military hardware and weaponry, and boost the military personnel`s spirits." Thisis a real proof that Azerbaijan increased its defense capacity in 2018.

Finally, the prime minister highlighted the government`s action program in 2018. Novruz Mammadov said: "The government built its program of action based on the tasks set by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in his speech at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on results of socio-economic development in 2018 and future objectives. The government mobilized all its resources to fulfill these tasks.'' This leads to the conclusion that commitment to the President`s instructions lies at the heart of the Azerbaijani government` s achievements in 2018. The government is comprehensively supporting the President`s policy and programs. And this support will grow even further!