The State Service for Antimonopoly and Consumer Market Control (AIBNDX) under the Ministry of Economy held a press conference dedicated to the results of its activities for 2022. The head of the State Service, Mammad Abbasbeyli, informed the media representatives about the work done and planned measures for the past year. It was reported that last year significant work was done in the field of ensuring a competitive environment, increasing transparency in public procurement, improving the infrastructure for quality and protecting consumer rights, and extensive educational work was carried out. It was noted that 5,570 applications received by the Service in the field of consumer rights protection and regulation of the consumer market were reviewed in 2022, and 2,260 applications of which were satisfied. As a result, business entities that violated the law returned 318,000 manats to consumers, and the damages up to 20,000 manats were compensated.
It was reported regarding the implementation of control over state procurements that a new draft Law "On State Procurements" had been developed and submitted accordingly. In 2022, the amount of total purchases was nearly 6.8 billion manats, 95% of which fell to micro, small and medium enterprises. In comparison with the previous year, the volume of competitive purchases increased by 70%. In 2022, procurements conducted by the request for quotation method will be fully electronic. In 2022, the share of electronic purchases in total purchases was 59.1% by number and 18.8% by amount.
The operation of the "etender.gov.az" portal has been improved, measures have been initiated to implement the integration with state institutions, and the integration with the electronic guarantees register of the Central Bank has already been completed during 2022. In the next stage, it is planned to integrate tax references with the State Tax Service, and then with the register of business entities of the State Statistics Committee. It was noted that violations of the requirements of the legislation were detected in 1409 of the 10,595 final protocols submitted to the State Service in the field of procurement, and appropriate measures were taken in this direction during the year.
It was stated that it is planned to create a unified and centralized Electronic Competition Portal and integrate it with the information systems applied in other state institutions in order to provide the public services from a single center, to increase their accessibility and quality, to ensure addressability and transparency.
It was stated regarding the work done in the field of antimonopoly control that, a total of 60 cases of antimonopoly and unfair competition cases were filed, and review of 48 cases was completed in 2022. As a result, a financial sanction was applied in the amount of about 6.5 million manats. Compared to 2021, the number of cases initiated last year increased by 3 times, and the number of cases that have been reviewed, increased by 2.2 times. Most of the antimonopoly cases were related to mobile phones and food products, while the unfair competition cases were related to businesses involved in the import and sale of motor oils. It was noted that within the framework of anti-inflationary measures, the State Service conducted research on the price rise for buckwheat, pasta, long rice, lentils, olive oil, margarine, salt and bakery products. Based on the results of the work carried out in the salt and buckwheat market, an order was issued to transfer profits in the amount of up to 2 million manats to the state budget.
Mass media representatives were also provided with extensive information about the measures implemented in the field of natural monopolies control. Appeals from consumers and entrepreneurs using the services of these entities were analyzed by the State Service in 2022. The activities of the natural monopoly subjects were investigated, "Aztelekom" LLC was instructed to develop and apply the relevant internal rules for improving the competitive environment in the field of telecommunications within 3 months, and "Azerbaijan Railways" CJSC was instructed to eliminate the cases of competition violations related to railway transportation, as well as the application of tariffs and concessions.
Measures implemented in the field of quality control were specially emphasized. It was reported that the "State Program for 2023-2025 on the adaptation of the national standardization system to international requirements" was recently approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The implementation of the State Program will play an important role in adapting the national standardization system to international requirements, creating a technical regulatory system in Azerbaijan, including adopting national technical regulations based on European Union directives and standards referred to by international standards.
Media representatives were informed that 68 new state standards were adopted by Azerbaijan Standardization Institute (AZSTAND) in 2022. AZSTAND has acquired the right to distribute official publications of more than 9,000 Turkish national standards in the country within the framework of cooperation with the Turkish Standards Institution (TSE). It was emphasized that more than 12,000 tests were conducted on more than 2,700 products in the laboratories operating under AZSTAND in 2022.
The importance of the steps taken towards the development of quality infrastructure was noted at the event. It was reported that the National Metrology Institute of the Scientific and Technological Research Institution of Turkey (TÜBİTAK UME) submitted proposals for the establishment of 20 laboratories and the improvement of the existing 7 laboratories at the Azerbaijan Institute of Metrology. It was reported that 111 institutions were accredited by the Azerbaijan Accreditation Center, and the scope of accreditation of 17 institutions was expanded in 2022. More than 61,000 certificates of origin were issued to business entities last year.
Questions from the media representatives were answered at the end of the event.
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