April 6, Fineko/abc.az. The interview with the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of "Bank Respublika"
Mr.Rahimov, could you comment on measures to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy of Azerbaijan, which were proposed by Minister of Economy Mikail Jabbarov?
Today, the whole world is faced with a very difficult situation, where every government must promptly make decisions related to both the health of their citizens and solving economic problems. Our government responds quickly to the constantly changing situation and takes the necessary measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
It is very comforting that our government is ready to take unprecedented measures, such as allocation of 2.5 billion manats to the support program (3% of the country’s GDP).This program is the largest in terms of the ratio of expenditures to GDP in the post-Soviet area and in the region.
Regarding specific measures, I can note the most important, in my opinion, moments:
What other measures would you personally consider effective within the program?
As I have already mentioned, the program has a fairly wide range, covering key areas and directions. As a representative of Bank Respublika, which is actively involved in microfinance and supporting small and medium-sized businesses, I believe that the most affected sides of this crisis are micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Therefore, I hope that the support program will help their businesses to continue their businesses and avoid bankruptcy. While supporting the idea of the program oriented towards transparently working entrepreneurs, I would still recommend making some minor relaxations for micro clients as well. Basically, this sphere includes small entrepreneurs who run family businesses, most of which are exempt from taxes. In most cases they did not do any bookkeeping. I am sure that within this program it is possible to make the maximum number of micro-businesses fully transparent.
It was said that the program is oriented for borrowers who repay loans on time. I would recommend that the program to be also applied to business customers who, at the time of the restructuring or subsidizing, completely repaid their outstanding debts.
In conclusion, I would like to say that banks are also ready to support customers affected by coronavirus pandemic. Currently, we are discussing possible measures to support these clients and we will promptly inform them about our decisions.
As you know, the term of office of the former World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan Naveed Hassan Naqvi has expired. In this regard, an ABC.AZ employee interviewed Nagvi, covering questions about the activities over the past period, as well as about WB’s future plans for Azerbaijan.
The main source of economic growth in Azerbaijan still is the oil and gas sector. Although the government has already focused on diversifying its economy in the recent years, the pandemic in combination with the oil price crash showed how fragile the economy still is.
The audit sector also supports these measures. Supporting the measures taken in the country, the Chamber of Auditors recommended member audit organizations and independent auditors to delay the execution of audit contracts as much as possible and to work remotely as appropriate in order to prevent the risk of coronavirus.
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