Turkish Parliament adopts nation’s budget for 2018
The Turkish Parliament has approved the government’s 2018 budget, which includes increased spending on defense and projects a rise in the fiscal deficit to 65.9 billion Turkish Liras ($17.28 billion).
The 2018 budget, approved by parliament late on Dec. 22 after a 12-day marathon session, introduces changes in tax regulations, such as tax increases for companies and motor vehicles, to help pay for increased security.
Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman announced the budget, backed by 305 lawmakers, while 124 voted against it in the 550-seat chamber.
In 2017, Turkey’s budget is expected to show a deficit of 61.7 billion liras, more than twice the 2016 budget deficit of around 30 billion liras.
Turkey’s 2018 budget also projects a tax income of 599.4 billion liras, up 15 percent from estimates for 2017, and a 5.8 billion lira primary surplus.
Next year’s budget deficit to gross domestic product ratio is expected to be 1.9 percent.
Around 85 billion liras ($22.2 billion) are earmarked for public investment, with nearly 30 percent to be spent on transportation. Ten percent of investment will be directed to the health care sector, while agriculture will receive 12 percent.
In October, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal said 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.
The government has said additional defense spending is urgently needed to modernize the military, the second-largest in the NATO alliance, and to meet the costs of domestic and foreign security operations.
Turkey’s economy has rebounded from a downturn that followed an attempted coup last year, helped by a series of government stimulus measures. The GDP grew 11.1 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, its fastest expansion in six years, according to official data.
Ankara is targeting a growth of 5.5 percent for 2017. It hopes to carry through to 2020, according to a medium-term economic program announced in September.