In 1998, after the Summit on the Great Silk
Road, a Presidential Decree established the Ministry
of Transport. It is still a very young Ministry
since you got appointed on spring 2003 only. What
has motivated the creation of this ministry and
what are the main challenges you are now facing
as first Minister of Transport in Azerbaijan?
On August 5 1998, due to the presidential decree
No 743 the Ministry of Transport of the Republic
of Azerbaijan was established. Being a central
state executive body, the Ministry of Transport
pursues the transport policy of the Azerbaijan
Republic, regulates the activity of the transport
modes. As you know there are several modes of
transport. All of them excluding pipeline transport
are under the control of the Ministry of Transport.
The Ministry of Transport is empowered to take
measures to develop the transport means, regulate
the transport tariff policy, join international
conventions on this field.The Ministry being the
central executive state body works out projects
serving the interests of the transport policy
of the government and submits it to the latter.
But the challenge is that as it is a newly established
ministry we need financial means to complete its
formation. The government supports us in solving
these issues. We have already hired the staff.
Previously, "Azerbaijan avtomobil yollari"
(Azerbaijan highways) and "Avtomobil yollari"
(Motor transport) were closed. The Ministry took
car of it and presently they function as juridical
persons and the ministry regulates their activity.
To what extent does the Ministry cooperate
with international financial institutions and
the European Union?
The Azerbaijan Ministry of Transport has joined
several international conventions. We are cooperating
with the international financial institutions
and organizations such as EBRD, EU, WB, ADB, Kuwait
Fund, Asian Development Bank etc. We are open
to cooperation. We take an active part in the
EU projects. We are also participating in the
TACIS and TRACECA programs. Within these projects
a bridge was built, 500 km fibre-optic communication
cabel has been installed along the east-west corridor
up to the Georgian border. EU gave us $6 mln credit
line for this purpose. The EU also provided us
with a $500,000 grant to buy boilers for washing
and cleaning oil tanks. Those boilers have already
been installed in Bilajary railway station. The
total amount of the grants within the framework
of these projects makes up $24 mln.
What do you consider as your main priority,
creating a new legal base for the sector or investing
in the rehabilitation and upgrading of transport
No sector of the econmy may exist and develop
without a legal base. Legal base is created and
we make amendmets to the exising laws or we give
our proposals to the government. We work out legal-technical
documents, give them for approval and we consult
on these issues with the international funancial
institutions and organizations. And we also make
efforts for development of the infrastructure.
For ex,. as I already mentioned the installation
of the fiber-optic communication cabel along Baku-Boyuk
Kasik corridor (on Georgian border). And the EBRD
has granted $20 mln for the reconstruction of
the railways and we have already reconstructed
65 km of the railways and part of it we directed
towards the putting into operation the boilers
for the cleaning and evaporation of the tanks.
We pay great attention to the repair and reconstruction
of motorways. We have worked out the motorway
development (reconstruction) strategy. Not only
we but also the foreigners are also concerned
about the state of the motor ways. As we have
already become an independent country we want
our roads to comply with international standards,
but for that we need money and time. Besides,
46 km of the four-line western motorway has been
rebuilt and we are going to hold its opening ceremony.
Since 1998 up to present the budget allocated
for rehabilitation of roads makes up $400 mln.
Do you invite foreign companies to participate
in this development plan?
We have done all the works I mentioned before
with the foreign companies through tenders. And
the winners of those tenders are mostly the foreign
companies. For ex, the reconstruction of the 46
km motor way has been done by a Turkish company.
German Siemens won the tender for the installation
of the fiber-optic communication line and they
brought all the equipment. The Italian company
is carrying out the reconstruction of the boiler
house in Bilajary station.
We are against monopolism. We want to create a
competitive environment. We realize that fair
and free competition is one of the main factors
for the economic development. Now that we are
an independent country, our target is to develop
and hold our decent place in the international
How do you allocate your budget?
The Ministry is financed from the state budget.
The budget of the Ministry is meant only for the
Ministry itself. The budget for this year makes
up 2.5 bn manats. Repairs and reconstruction of
motorways make up 83 bn manats ($17 mln). The
government has allocated money for the reconstruction
of the Nakhchivan airport. Air transport, waterways,
railway are self-financing companies. They work,
get profit, finance themselves and pay taxes.
The Ministry only regulates their activity.
What do you expect from the privatization
of the state companies within the transport sector?
I have signed and submitted to the president
a list of more than 30 companies to be privatized.
The motor transport has been completely privatized.
A number of construction companies in the railway
sector have been privatized. The education centers
or enterprises within the railway sector have
been brought to subjection of the Ministry of
The railway sector is a natural monopoly in Azerbaijan.
But we regulate the tariffs in order to be ready
for the competition. Some of the air transport
companies have also been privatized and the list
on privatization of the rest has been submitted
to the government. We are for the privatization.
Maybe no one would like to buy the railways but
if anyone proposes it we can privatize it too.
Some of the air transport companies have been
privatized and we have decree on their privatization.
We have done works for the privation of the CSC
too. As the Caspian is a closed basin the privatization
of the CSC is a delicate issue. We need to be
very careful on this question.
As the Minister of Transport, is there a personal
project that you would like to carry out?
We are very much interested in the realization
of the North-South corridor. Eastern Europe-Russia-Azerbaijan-Iran-Near
East. It may be a corridor that joins Europe with
Asia. Iran, India and Russia are the founders
of the project. We have officially addressed to
them to accept Azerbaijan into this transport
project and Iran has agreed on it. We have to
wait for Russia´s and India´s answer.
If we take part of the project, then Azerbaijan
would become a transit country and millions of
tones of cargoes will transit through this route.
I also want the whole construction and rehabilitation
works of the Azerbaijan motorways to be completed.
We conduct negotiations with a Czech bank for
the reconstruction of the Baku-North route. The
Iranian side is also interested in allocatting
$40 mln for the reconstruction of the Southern
You were previously the general manager of the
Azerbaijan State Railways for a long time.
And now you are the Minister of Transport. Can
you compare those 2 experiences?
I have a lot of experience in the Railways. I
started as Secretary under the communism era.
I worked in quite different positions. I worked
as deputy chairman of the State Railway for 4
years. In July 1996 I became the chairman of that
company. And after the establishment of the Ministry
of Transport I got appointed Minister in April