Azeri government to provide $588 million in aid to the economy-president's order

BAKU (Reuters) - Azeri President Ilham Aliyev ordered the provision of 1 billion manats ($588.2 million) from the state budget to support the economy amid the spread of coronavirus and declining oil prices, according to a document published on Thursday on his website.

“These funds will be used to finance measures to ensure macroeconomic stability, address employment issues and minimize the negative impact on business as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the subsequent sharp reduction in the price of oil,” the document said.

A working group led by the oil-rich country’s economy minister has been ordered to assess a potential negative impact on the economy coming from the coronavirus and decline in oil prices.

“The working group is instructed ... to prepare a package of proposals ... on measures that will allow in the short and medium term to reduce the impact of coronavirus on the business environment and ensure economic growth,” it said.

The former Soviet republic has reported 34 confirmed cases of coronavirus. One patient has died and 10 recovered.

Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; writing by Margarita Antidze; editing by Chizu Nomiyama