Budget deficit falls as tax income rises

Budget deficit falls as tax income rises

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Budget deficit falls as tax income rises

Turkey’s Finance Mİnister Mehmet Şimşek (C) attends a press meeting. AA photo

Turkey’s budget deficit went down to 897 million Turkish Liras in the first quarter of 2013, down 86 percent compared to the same period last year, while budget income soared 21 percent thanks to an increase in tax revenues and income from privatizations, according to Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek.

Budget income grew by 21.6 percent, reaching 94.1 billion liras in the first three months, while expenses rose by 13.3 percent to 95 billion liras, Şimşek announced in a press meeting yesterday.

The government’s year-end target for the annual budget deficit is set at 33.95 billion liras and according to Şimşek the first quarter figures, which made up 2.6 percent of this amount, indicate that this is not hard to reach. “The first quarter budget balance and non-interest balances show that we can easily achieve our targets,” he said, adding that this year’s privatizations, which have so far put 4.9 billion liras in the state’s coffers, have had a huge impact.

The collection of higher amounts from taxes thanks to tightened financial disciplinary measures to fight tax evasion has also helped reduce the quarterly deficit, Şimşek said.

The Finance Ministry and the police have been executing a battle against income loss due to smuggling and conducting more efficient investigations to uncover undeclared tax debts.

“The relative recovery of domestic demand is also affecting the increase in tax revenues,” Şimşek also said.

Among many new taxpayers, the minister particularly singled out the Turkish Pipeline Company (BOTAŞ), which began to pay its taxes in the last quarter of 2012 and thus contributed to the better budget performance.

“BOTAŞ has paid 2 billion liras this year up to now, of which 1.3 billion liras were past debts and 700 million liras were current payments,” Şimşek said.