On June 12, 2018, the World Bank organized its final Workshop in Baku under the ongoing technical assistance project aimed at improving governance and transparency of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). The Workshop was organized jointly with the Azerbaijan State Committee on Property Issues (SCPI), and convened the main in-country stakeholders engaged in SOE oversight, providing a platform to present a new SOE financial monitoring tool, developed with World Bank assistance. Gathering over 60 representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, SCPI and the 20 largest SOEs, the workshop allowed all main stakeholders to learn of the new financial monitoring tool, ask questions, and generate inter-governmental dialogue on this important change in SOE management in the country.
- At the workshop, Naveed Naqvi, the World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan, stressed the importance of good governance and proper accountability of SOEs, which affect sustainable economic development and have a major impact on society via public service delivery and substantial budgetary costs.
- Karam Hasanov, Chairman of the State Committee on Property Issues, presented the SCPI’s role in SOE reforms, thanking the World Bank for the timely assistance in developing the methodology and tools for SOE financial monitoring, which will improve the data for better management of SOEs.
- Vusal Gasimli, Executive Director of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication, shared his perspective on the importance of remaining focused on achieving efficient governance of these enterprises and improving their operational performance, taking Azerbaijan’s economic circumstances and current best practices into consideration.
- Sevinj Hasanova, Deputy Minister of Economy, shared the Government’s expectations and progress in reforming Azerbaijan SOEs through strengthening their corporate governance practices, improving accountability through proper reporting and publication of financial statements, and enabling SOE management to improve performance.
The World Bank team outlined the main challenges and ways for improving governance and oversight of SOEs, focusing on developing SOE strategy, strengthening the Government’s role in SOE oversight, and improving data flows within the Government for improved SOEs accountability and informed policy decisions. The financial monitoring tool and respective methodology was presented in detail, highlighting the expected benefits for the Government in setting and analyzing SOEs’ key performance indicators, and enabling informed decision making by the Government.
The Workshop concludes the World Bank’s technical assistance on SOE reforms in Azerbaijan, providing the Government with the comprehensive diagnostic of the SOE governance and oversight, as well as timed and sequenced action plan. For the next steps, other institutions – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) – have expressed their interest in continuing support in this important area building on the World Bank’s findings and recommendations.