The first group of Lachin residents, 296 families, will be settled in the district’s Zabukh and Sus villages by the end of the year, Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov said.
He made the remarks during a briefing on the activities of Azerbaijan’s Cabinet of Ministers in 2022 in the Parliament.
“One of the memorable historical events is the beginning of the resettlement of the population to Aghal? village of Azerbaijan’s liberated Zangilan district. In the presence of President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva, the opening ceremony of the first stage of the "Smart Village" project was held in Agali village of Zangilan district on May 27. In the first stage, 66 families (326 people) have been relocated to Aghali, and so far 86 families (420 people) have been relocated,” the prime minister stressed.
He noted that recently the first 20 families are being relocated to the village of Talish.
Asadov underlined that a number of important decisions were made regarding the increase of wages, labor pensions, social benefits, and stipends, especially the social payments of the low-income group, in the direction of strengthening the social protection of the population in 2022.
According to him, with the 20 percent raise, in 2022, the minimum wage went from 250 manats ($147) to 300 manats ($176).
"Also, the amount of minimum pension has been increased by 20 percent, social benefits and presidential stipends by 26 percent. In addition, the increase in the average amount of monthly allowances was 33 percent,” the minister stated.
He also drew attention to the fact that a social reform package, covering 3.4 million people with an additional annual financial burden of 2.1 billion manats ($1.2 billion) was implemented in 2022. The premier noted that these measures are designed to protect the real income of the population and mitigate the consequences of inflation.
He noted that social reforms including social increases have been continued by the president since the beginning of 2023.
"In general, an additional 750 million manat ($441.1 million) funds are planned for new increases in wages and social payments in 2023. Those increases will cover 1.9 million citizens," the PM added.
Reconstruction of liberated lands
Speaking about the reconstruction works in Azerbaijan’s liberated lands, the official underlined that Azerbaijan has allocated 6.5 billion manats ($3.8) from the state budget to the reconstruction and restoration of the liberated territories in the last two years. He added that out of this number, 4.3 billion manats ($2.5) were spent in 2022.
He noted that the package of tax, customs, social insurance, investment promotion, credit and other concessions given to the liberated territories will contribute to the reintegration of those territories into the general economy of the country, sustainable settlement of the population, employment and provision of sustainable economic activity.
Besides, the PM remarked that 11 hydropower stations were built on the liberated lands. He also added that the design and construction of 19 highways with a total length of 2,241 km and the construction of Lachin International Airport continued.
Then, the prime minister stressed that a total of 18 industrial enterprises have been registered in "Aghdam" and "Araz Valley Economic Zone" Industrial Parks in Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur economic regions. He stressed that a total of approximately 106 million AZN ($62.3 million) is expected to be invested, and more than 800 new jobs are planned to be opened.
He noted that 38 percent of the works on the construction of the Horadiz-Aghband railway, and 74 percent on the Horadiz-Jabrayil-Zangilan-Aghband highway have been completed.
The minister then outlined that as part of the land construction works carried out in the liberated territories, 50.8 thousand hectares in Jabrayil district, 79.9 thousand hectares in Gubadli district, 144 thousand hectares in Kalbajar district, 43.6 thousand hectares in Lachin district and 70.9 thousand hectares in Zangilan district, totaling 389.2 were carried out on a thousand-hectare area.
He emphasized that data on the earthworks was processed and an initial intermediate GIS database has been created.
“All the works in Zangilan and Gubadli districts were finalized and entered into TEKUIS (Electronic Land Cadastre Accounting Information System). Large-scale research works were carried out in the framework of field-soil research on 283,600 hectares and geobotanical research on 309,000 hectares, 155.2 hectares in the Zangilan district, 98.4 hectares in the Kalbajar district, 73.3 hectares in the Gubadli district were subjected to military degradation. Research works were carried out in a total area of 326.9 hectares,” the minister highlighted.
In Shusha, Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Gubadli, Zangilan, Aghdam, Khojavand, Tartar, Khojaly, Kalbajar and Lachin districts, preliminary inventory work has been completed, including 12.3 thousand buildings and 1.8 thousand infrastructure objects, totaling 14.1 thousand real estates, he said.
Speaking about the mine issue, Asadov highlighted that together with ANAMA, Defense Ministry, Emergencies Ministry, the State Border Service and 4 local private companies were involved in demining operations in the liberated areas.
"As a result of the measures taken, a total of 65,000 hectares, including 44,000 hectares in 2022, have been cleared," he added.
Furthermore, the prime minister underlined that in 2022, the gross domestic product was produced in Azerbaijan at a record level.
He said that GDP of 133.8 billion manat ($78.7) was produced last year, which is 4.6 percent more than the previous year. GDP in the non-oil sector increased by 9.1 percent, agriculture increased by 3.6 percent, GDP per capita increased by 4.1 percent.
"Last year, the foreign exchange reserves increased by 5.3 billion dollars and amounted to 58.5 billion dollars. Currently, the foreign currency reserves are 62 billion dollars, they have increased by 4 billion dollars in 2 months," the official added.
The minister expressed that the international reputation of Azerbaijan has increased, the economy has developed, defense capabilities have strengthened, and the social condition of the population has improved as a result of the successful and targeted domestic and foreign policy implemented under the leadership of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.