President Ilham Aliyev held a meeting with the Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday dedicated to the results of socioeconomic development over the last year and perspectives for future.
According to the President, in 2016, Azerbaijan achieved important economic goals despite the crisis that has hit the country in the wake of a sudden fall in energy prices.
“Last year, salaries and pensions rose 7% and 8% respectively… There was only a 4% decline in the currency reserves of the State Oil Fund… We have been able to pass with dignity through a difficult and critical year.”
The evaluation of the President contradicts that of local independent economists.
Rovshan Agayev, an economic expert, wrote in a blog post that:
“The economic crisis that started in previous years persisted on and became even more critical in 2016. The poor became poorer. The real level of unemployment, to which the government does not admit, has even further increased. Prices, in particular the prices of consumer goods, have soared. The national budget was reduced and the economy shrank. The crisis continued to damage the banking sector. Almost one fourth of banks have shut down, bank assets decreased 10%, and bank credits dropped 25%. The national currency depreciated 20%.”
In his speech, President Ilham Aliyev slammed these experts with harsh words:
“There are some non-governmental organizations, we all know who finance them. Their goal is to disparage us and what we are doing. Their anti-Azerbaijan campaigns have never produced any results in these many years. It is not worth paying attention to their evaluations. Concurrently, some local experts, who declare themselves as great economic experts, have made some evaluations. What they say is outright nonsense. We have a good saying that ‘those who cannot decide how to divide barley between two donkeys, try to teach us something.’ I mean, they all need to be ignored. It is important that we are developing. For us, the evaluations of international institutions are important. Our own reality is important. The reality is that we have passed through the crisis with dignity. . .”