Education to get lion’s share of Turkey’s 2018 budget, defense to see big boost: Minister
The education sector will again get the lion’s share in Turkey’s 2018 budget, while defense expenditures will also get a big boost, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal stated on Oct. 16.
Ağbal said Turkey’s budget expenditures are expected to amount to 762.8 billion liras ($208 billion) in 2018, while revenue is expected to amount to 696.8 billion liras ($191 billion), including nearly 600 billion liras ($164.5 billion) in tax revenues.
The draft budget was sent to the cabinet by the Finance Ministry early on Oct. 16.
Ağbal said the government will increase education expenditure to 134 billion liras (over $37 billion), including investments worth 14.3 billion liras ($3.97 billion), amounting to around 18 percent of total public investment.
“In other words, we will spend 22 liras of every 100 liras collected as tax on education,” he added.
Around 85 billion liras ($23.6 billion) will be devoted to public investments, of which nearly 30 percent will be used in the transport sector, 10 percent will be used in the health sector and 12 percent will be used in the agriculture sector, according to the draft budget.
Total investment spending will be 141 billion liras ($38.6 billion) in 2018, Ağbal said.
While some 51 billion liras ($14 billion) are planned to be allocated to social welfare and expenditures, the agricultural sector will get 30 billion liras ($8.2 billion) from the budget.
Ağbal also stressed that the government would increase defense and security spending significantly in 2018. “Specifically, we will devote an additional 18 billion liras ($5 billion) for defense modernization in 2018,” he said.
Turkey ran a budget deficit of 6.4 billion liras ($1.84 billion) in September 2017, marking a 62 percent fall year-on-year, Ağbal said.
“In the coming months we will control our expenditure and positive improvements will be recorded on the budget revenues side,” he added.
Budget expenditures in September amounted to 54.4 billion liras ($15.6 billion), up 2.6 percent from the same month last year.
Last month, central government revenues stood at 48 billion liras ($13.83 billion), with a 32.9-percent yearly rise.
“Expenditures without interest payments were 46 billion liras ($13.25 billion) in September, a 1.6 percent decrease on a yearly basis,” Ağbal said.
In September, interest payments were recorded at 8.4 billion liras ($2.42 billion) and the government received 41.8 billion ($12.04 billion) in tax revenues, up 35.5 percent from the same month in 2016.
According to the finance minister, Turkey’s nine-month budget balance saw a deficit of 31.6 billion liras (around $8.7 billion).
Between January and September, government revenues reached 456.6 billion liras (some $126.8 billion), along with 385.3 billion liras (nearly $107 billion) in taxes collected.
Over the same period, budget expenditures were 488.2 billion liras (around $135.6 billion), including interest payments of 46.2 billion liras (approximately $12.8 billion).
“The nine-month budget deficit stood at nearly half of our year-end target of 61.7 billion liras [$17.13 billion], according to our medium-term economic program,” Ağbal said.
“I believe that the budget balance will show a lower deficit at the end of this year compared with our target,” he added.
According to Turkey’s medium-term economic program, the budget deficit/GDP ratio target for 2018 is 1.9 percent, 1.8 percent in 2019 and 1.6 percent at the end of 2020.