Foreign entrepreneurs working in Azerbaijan positively assess the reforms implemented in the country, according to the 1st Business Climate Survey Azerbaijan 2016 conducted by the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce.
Foreign businessmen gave the highest assessment to three key indicators of business climate in Azerbaijan: political and social stability, infrastructure, qualification and productivity of employees, according to the survey.
The survey covered some of the reforms recently carried out in Azerbaijan.
These reforms include suspension of inspections related to entrepreneurial activities for two years, simplifying the licensing procedure and reducing the number of licensable activities from 56 to 37, the provision of services related to the issuing of business licenses by ASAN services, given that they are countrywide known for eliminating bribery and corruption in the provision of public services.
ASAN is the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan meaning “easy” in English. It is the Azerbaijani model of service delivery mechanism to render public and private services from one single space.
The most important reforms reflected in the survey also included the establishment of the Financial Market Supervisory Authority, the issuance of documents promoting investment, the preparation of strategic roadmaps of Azerbaijan’s economy.
As much as 40 percent of respondents state that, they would choose Azerbaijan as an investment location again, whereas 20 percent remain undecided, according to the survey.
Looking ahead, streamlining taxes and customs procedures and liberalizing tariffs would further stimulate investment and thus raise the prospects for capital inflows, according to the respondents of the survey.
In this context, providing transparency will play a key role and “ASAN” services, which have eliminated corruption and removed bureaucracy in public service delivery, can act as instructive models amidst institutional reforms, the respondents said.
In addition to that, the comments indicate that further improvements in visa and work permit regimes are necessary to stimulate capital inflows and support industry professionals active in Azerbaijan.
The survey conducted with the support of the Eurochambres and the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan was designed to reflect the assessment of EU companies being active in Azerbaijan. It was circulated to over 300 companies representing 19 EU countries.
The report was shaped by the valuable insights of CEOs, general managers and department heads, among others, regarding the current situation and prospects for short-term growth, business environment and investment climate in the country, and their company demographics.
As much as 12 percent of the respondents did not occupy leading positions. At the same time, 76 percent of the respondents represented companies operating in the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan. More than 38 percent of the respondents work for companies with a number of employees over 50 people.