“96 AZN not enough to support family of six”

Natiq Hüseynov
Natiq Hüseynov

Tovuz resident wants a job

Natig Huseynov, 31, lives in the village of Duzgirigli in Tovuz District. Huseynov, who earns 5-7 AZN (3-4 USD) as a daily laborer cleaning up gardens and chopping wood, finds it difficult to support his family. The father of four receives 96 AZN (57 USD) in social aid each month, which does not even cover the family’s 100 AZN (59) monthly cost of diapers.

“When you walk into a store with your kid, he wants everything he sees. I tell him that I do not have money. It’s a problem to find a job, it’s hard to make a living. There are six of us. We live in a small room. I do not have the money to complete the construction of my semi-complete house.”

Huseynov has found it difficult to gain long-term work, stating that villagers in Duzgirigli are mostly cattle breeders, which is not an easy trade to enter: “There is more to it than just keeping your cattle. In winter, you need to buy fodder to feed them. It is not that easy to sell the milk, the cream or the cheese. Everyone has dairy products in the countryside. Young people in the village mostly train to be masons and craftsmen.”

Unsure of where to turn, Huseynov hopes that the government can provide him with a job. Assistance for unemployed persons, however, is not readily accessible. According to economic expert Natig Jafarli, unemployment is more acute outside of Baku, the capital city.

“[In Azerbaijan] a person has to personally visit an employment department, submit a statement and get registered. It is only in that case that the government acknowledges them as unemployed. [The employment department] pays that person a certain allowance or sends him a new job offer within six months. If that person rejects the job, he stops getting the allowance, too.”

One of the factors that has pushed the regional unemployment rate up is that industrial enterprises left over from the Soviet period were completely shut down and were not replaced by new job openings. While working in Russia was previously a viable option for laborers, a more restrictive migration policy has meant that Azerbaijanis from regions face many obstacles, including language tests, before moving to Russia for work. With the onset and deepening of the economic, exacerbating regional unemployment even further.

According to the Tovuz District Employment Center, there currently are jobs but in a limited number, stating, “There is a special decree issued by the president, and active employment-related events are in progress. Work is being done to ensure employment. Job fairs are held once a year.”

In the meantime, Huseynov must continue to rely on finding daily work in order to support his family of six. “I want a job”, he laments. “I want to be provided with a job so I can support my family.”

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