On November 8, at an
in Baku celebrating the extraction of two billion tons of oil in Azerbaijan since 1871, President Ilham Aliyev called the country’s financial condition “stable,” adding, “we don’t have any problems in this regard.”
“Ill-wishers are trying to discredit us by saying that Azerbaijan’s financial condition is not good,” the president said. “Our financial condition can serve as an example to many countries. This year, we increased our foreign currency reserves by $4.5 billion in nine months alone, and they will increase even further by the end of the year. Our foreign debt constitutes 18% of our GDP. This figure is something that many countries wish for, it sounds like a miracle to them. The leading economic forum, Davos, has recognized our economic success. We rank 35th in the world.”
For comment, Meydan TV turned to economist Nemat Aliyev (no relation to President Aliyev), board member of the opposition Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party. He said it was “amazing” that the president didn’t mention the $38 billion drop in GDP that Azerbaijan has experienced in recent years. According to the World Bank, Azerbaijan’s GDP has
from $75 billion in 2014 to $37 billion last year (2016).
“The increase in the currency reserves of the State Oil Fund and the Central Bank in the past few months is due to an increase in oil prices,” Nemat Aliyev said. “The Central Bank’s currency reserves are ensured by means of an artificial limitation of economic activity. These increases aren’t happening because of good economic management. On the contrary, economic activity has been brought to the brink of collapse and, consequently, the population’s incomes have fallen dramatically.”
The economist said that, rather than currency reserves, the president should have talked about the dramatic declines in foreign trade and GDP, and other, more meaningful indicators of economic well-being.