4/15/2009

Government announces stimulus package and EU pre-accession economic program

Dunya - The government has announced the details of a long-awaited stimulus package to be implemented over the next three years as part of its efforts to cushion the impact of global economic crisis on Turkey. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, alongside the Turkish Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek and Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren said the “EU Pre-Accession Economic Program” will first be sent to parliament for approval and is expected to be completed by the end of 2011. Ekren said the government will step up work on having an automatic tax system for the whole country next year. "The tax collection system will be revised before the end of this year," he added. "Public spending on civil service wages and expenditures on State Economic Enterprises will be drawn up in line with economic targets." The government will not create new extra-budgetary funds or revise the budgets of local administrations, he explained. Ekren said the government will not halt public investments and is expected to allocate some EUR 12.2 billion for the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) through 2012. "The plan for the medium term involves basic principles of a standby deal that the government expects to sign with the International Monetary Fund soon," he said. Under the program, this year’s ratio of budget deficit to gross national income will be 4.6 percent, followed by 3.2 percent for 2010 and 2.8 percent for 2011. The new package will also provide for the effective operation of a credit guarantee fund. "The packages we have introduced so far total USD 750 billion, and their ratio to the budget is 17 percent," he said. Turkey has one of the most steadily growing economies in its region with a USD 750 billion gross domestic product, said Ekren. He underlined that they expect a 3.6 percent contraction in the economy for 2009. "For 2010, we predict a 3.3 percent growth, and 4.5 percent by 2011," he added. Turkey's exports will amount to USD 104 billion this year and USD 111 billion and USD 120 billion in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Turkey's foreign trade deficit will be USD 34 billion this year, and USD 43 billion and USD 54 billion in 2010 and 2011, he noted.