Speech of President Heydar Aliyev at the Baku International conference "Strategy of entrepreneurship and economic reconstruction" - September, 13, 1994

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen!

Dear participants of the Baku International conference "Strategy of entrepreneurship and economic reconstruction"!

I cordially congratulate you on this important event of the opening of the Baku International conference and I wish you great successes in your very important work for the Azerbaijan Republic. The conference has the international character and is, certainly, of great importance. But it has especially great significance for the independent Azerbaijan which has taken the road of free development.

It is known, since Azerbaijan gained its independence, it has been building its life, state, economy, proceeding from its own national interests, on the basis of principles of democracy. Thus, all these cause serious reorganization of all economic system. In this respect, Azerbaijan has proclaimed strategy of reorganization on the basis of principles of free, market economy and it is pursuing this way. It is natural, that this way is extremely hard and complicated for the republic which lived in the circumstances of other social - economic system during 70 years. But at the same time, it is the only way to overcome difficulties in economy, get over a social - economic crisis and ensure the development of economy according to the international standards for drawing Azerbaijan into world economic system.

In this respect, we have done a lot in the republic. We are trying to consider various ways of the establishment and development of free, market economy. Naturally, we meet with difficulties and we feel urgent needs of more active use of world experience. In this connection, the Baku International conference " Strategy of entrepreneurship and economic reconstruction " becomes more and more important for us. Proceeding from this, I have made decision to be together with you at the opening of the conference and address to you with my ideas, naturally, relying on the substantial contribution which will be made by both the conference and your joint activity in reforming of Azerbaijan economy.

Participation of the representatives of foreign countries in the activity of the conference, having wide experience of work in conditions of free, market economy, certainly, is an essential and decisive factor to determine ways of our further activity and more effectively make use of the experience both of world economy and advanced countries which have achieved great successes on the path of market economy and free entrepreneurship. Therefore, I cordially welcome our foreign guests who arrived in Baku and are participating in the activity of this international conference. I express my gratitude to them for their kind attitude to economic problems of Azerbaijan. I hope our joint efforts will lead to concrete practical results.

Speaking about that we are pursuing the way of the establishmant of market economy and free entrepreneurship, I have mentioned difficulties of our transitional period. They really do exist. These problems are of objective, and in a certain degree, natural character. But at the same time it is well - known to everyone who is present in this hall and I would like to say once again, that for that period when we began reorganization of economy in Azerbaijan, in particular, for the last two years,much has been done in the republic. For this period thousands of small enterprises, many joint ventures with foreign companies have been founded. Certain conditions for the development of entrepreneurship have been created. All these have yielded concrete practical results. The State fund of help to free entrepreneurship has been established. Other measures have been taken.The most important thing is that practical conditions for the development of entrepreneurship and establishment of principles of market economy have been created.In order to ensure movement on this way, we have created certain legal bases and adopted the Law "On entrepreneurship". The National Assembly of the Azerbaijan Republic has determined the main directions of enterprise activity and taken a number of other measures to create a legal basis, corresponding conditions for activization of entrepreneurship and the initiative of development of our economy on the path of market economy.

Alongside with these facts, from the part of the government corresponding measures have been determined. In particular, I consider important that we have created conditions for both liberalization of economy in general and foreign trade in particular. On April, 5 of this year we issued the decree which provides complex of measures on liberalization both of our economy and foreign trade. It also creates conditions that all legal persons should independently export both their own and strategic goods.

In order to follow this way, naturally, we have to take other steps. In particular, we take measures for reconstruction of an enterprise infrastructure of market economy. We attach great importance to perfection of the Baku system because it is as a main course for realization of market economy, could correspond to the Baku international system and ensure conditions for free entrepreneurship. In the field of tax system we are trying to create maximum favorable conditions for free entrepreneurship.

These are only our first steps. Much work should be done. We should safely and firmly take the path of privatization of state property and change forms of property in our republic proceeding from that it will promote development of production, and consequently, development of economy.

Azerbaijan has high economic potential, productive forces, labour and natural recources. We should take these measures for the effective improvement of people`s welfare, development of economy of Azerbaijan and strengthening of the economic power of the state. Therefore, privatization of state property is a major issue, alike carrying out of some economic reforms in this respect. We repeatedly spoke about it. Concrete practical measures are necessary. I should admit, that they are not enough. Maybe, it is one of the reasons of a difficult state of economy. We should take the path of realization of an agrarian reform, create conditions for entrepreneurship in agrarian sector. There are also great reserves both for development of economy and realization of principles of market economy in all spheres of economy of Azerbaijan.

As we see it, entrepreneurship with use of experience of economically developed western countries is an important factor for us. And we shall do our best to pursue this way. In this connection I would like to mention the law which gives legal opportunities for foreign investments and provides their protection. I think, this law creates favorable conditions that entrepreneurship should be developed not only in narrow frameworks of Azerbaijan and that the establishment of principles of market economy should be carried out jointly with foreign companies, by making active use of foreign investments. There are conditions in Azerbaijan that foreign investments could find their use. I have already mentioned about opportunities and economic potential of Azerbaijan. It is on the one hand. Another factor is the state policy in this respect. As I have already said, it provides creation of maximum favorable conditions for foreign investments, joint ventures and making use of foreign experience.

It is clear that pursuing the way of privatization of state property and change forms of property in Azerbaijan, we should take care of public sector and determine measures in its reconstruction according to requirements of market economy and world experience.

All these problems are facing us. I would like to assure participants of the conference, that we are firm to take the path of active realization of economic reforms in all spheres including spheres of industry,agrarian sector, trade, services and in all infrastructure. We shall go forward to restore economy of Azerbaijan by means of these reforms and opportunities. In all this we rely on that high economic and intellectual potential of Azerbaijan, its rich natural and labour resources can come to action and raise the level of national economy of the country, provide the country`s recovery from the recession and create conditions for the best life of the population of our republic. These conditions exist. I am personally confident that persuing this way, we shall achieve successes. We are unshakable in this respect.

I think holding of the present conference will help us to implement the problems we are facing with. Here there are leading economists, experts on problems of creation of economic system on the basis of market economy. I wish this conference and in particular our foreign guests to render the useful assistance to us in determination of concrete ways conformably to conditions of Azerbaijan, its economy which for many decades had developed in conditions of totalitarian socialist system. I hope speeches of our foreign guests, their useful advice and recommendations both to our enterpreneurs and all state bodies of Azerbaijan which are engaged in economy, will be great help and support for us.

As the head of the state I am taking a firm position in these issues. I am also planing meetings with enterpreneurs of Azerbaijan, with those people who have already gained certain experience of enterprise activity. I look to these meetings of business dialogues, the information what has been done and achieved in the field of entrepreneurship and what concretely is necessary to do. Our state structures engaged in economy, and we as a whole need first-hand information. Naturally, each useful idea, opinion and proporsal will be used by us. That means each businessman of Azerbaijan should represent himself as a part of economy of the republic and make efforts for economic prosperity of the country. Such enterpreneurs can successfully carry out their activity, freely deal with the matters which they are engaged in. Having this opportunity they can use their economic and intellectual potential. At the same time they can render assistance in development of entrepreneurship, market economy in Azerbaijan and overcoming of crisis.

This is my attitude to each citizen of Azerbaijan who is engaged in enterprise activity. I express my respect for them and kind attitude to their activity. But today those enterpreneurs of Azerbaijan, who have already achieved the certain results, are participating in the activity of this conference. I guess they can get much from work of this conference, especially from the experience which will be presented here by our foreign guests. There also can be a corresponding exchange of opinions to ensure success both in their business and entrepreneurship in the independent Azerbaijan as a whole.

I express my gratitude to the foreign guests of the conference for the organization of the forum and participation in its activity. I hope their business contacts with Azerbaijan will not be limited to the job of the present conference. But they will go on. I would like to wish succeses and prosperity to each businessman of Azerbaijan who is engaged in enterprise activity for people`s welfare. I also would like to express my confidence, that the Baku International conference " Strategy of entrepreneurship and economic reconstruction " will play its role in the further development of economy of Azerbaijan. I wish successes in your job.

Thanks for attention.