Entrepreneurs express their interest in setting up catering facilities in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan and investing in this sector, said Chairman of the Board of Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA) Orkhan Mammadov. Mammadov made the remark at an online forum on the "Food industry and public catering sector: current situation and prospects" topic, held with the organizational support of the Public Council under the Agency and in partnership with the Association of Food and Beverage Industry Representatives.
According to him, the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from (Armenian) occupation in 2020 as a result of the determination of our victorious Commander-in-Chief, Mr. Ilham Aliyev and heroism of our brave army has opened up new business opportunities as well. "To date, the Agency has received many applications from entrepreneurs wishing to open their own business in the liberated districts. These appeals mainly relate to manufacturing, tourism, textiles, construction, medicine, as well as public catering, food processing and agriculture," the Chairman said. "The Agency provides the necessary information support, coordination and consulting services to those wishing to create and invest in the territories liberated from the occupation," Orkhan Mammadov said.
The Chairman also stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the Public Catering sector, and in this context, the Government is still taking active measures to protect businesses through various support mechanisms. This forum, held with the participation of entrepreneurs and government agencies in the post-war period and on the eve of the pandemic end, is an important venue for thematic discussions and dialogue between the public and private sectors.
Deputy Chairman of Azerbaijan’s Food Safety Agency (AFSA), Balarahim Guliyev spoke about the measures taken by the Agency during the pandemic. Guliyev noted that within the COVID-19 response measures, extensive educational events are being carried out among the population and entrepreneurs, and monitoring is carried out in Public Catering, Tourism, Food Trade and other enterprises. With the participation of international and local experts, a conceptual document on the activities of the AFSA in the liberated territories was prepared and submitted to the relevant authorities, he noted, adding that entrepreneurs are responsible for the restoration of these lands, and invited them to cooperate with the Agency to resolve issues arising from the performance of the assigned tasks.
In his speech, Vice-President of the National Confederation of Organizations of Entrepreneurs (Employers) of Azerbaijan, Vugar Zeynalov, said that the organization always supports entrepreneurs in reducing the impact of the pandemic on the development of entrepreneurship in 2020, numerous appeals and proposals from entrepreneurs were submitted to state bodies, discussions involving the public and private sectors.
Emin Dostyari, Chairman of the Association of Representatives of the Food and Beverage Industry of Azerbaijan, informed the participants of the event about the difficulties in this area that entrepreneurs faced during the pandemic, and also voiced a number of proposals from the association members on the creation of an online sales and delivery platform with state support, mobile sales opportunities for the creation of new jobs in this sector, the revival of the economy, etc.
Chairman of the Public Council under SMBDA, Farhad Garashov, pointed out that the forum was organized to discuss the challenges faced by SMBs in the food industry and catering during a pandemic, within the framework of the dialogue between the state and business and their expectations in the post-pandemic period, study and submitting relevant proposals to the relevant departments. "The event is the 9th forum organized by the Public Council under the Agency, and in 2021, the organization of public discussions and other events on various sectors of the economy, mainly sectors affected by the pandemic, will continue," Farhad Garashov said.
The online forum participants also discussed the problems of catering facilities, and their questions were answered.
The forum, which was held online in accordance with the requirements of the quarantine regime, was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Economy and its structural divisions, the Ministry of Agriculture, FSA, the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan, as well as business entities (manufacturers of food and agricultural products, food importers and exporters, markets, restaurants, cafes, hotels, and other catering facilities) and associations operating in various fields.
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