Number of economy-related ministries can be reduced: Economy minister

Number of economy-related ministries can be reduced: Economy minister

Erdinç Çelikkan ANKARA
Number of economy-related ministries can be reduced: Economy minister

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The number of Turkey's economy-related ministries could be reduced from four to two, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said, saying such a reduction could be more efficient.

“In order to save efficiency, the number of ministries in the Cabinet was reduced to 24 from 36 in 2002. However, today the economy-related ministries are the Economy Ministry, the Customs Ministry, the Science, Industry and Technology Ministry, and the Finance Ministry,” Zeybekci said, adding that a recent study suggested the number could be reduced to just two.

Touching on the issue of inflation, Zeybekci said the announced inflation rate belongs to last year, while the interest rates that the real sector has to bear today belong to the coming term.

“If we are to associate inflation with interest rates, then we should associate the interest rate with the expected inflation. While the expected inflation in Turkey is around 6 percent, the interest rates that everybody has to bear are between 12 and 14 percent. This interest rate is not acceptable,” he said.

Views colliding

Zeybekci said he believed that Turkey would not have any financing problems in the future, while stressing that it is "natural" for differing views to come up within the economy administration and emphasizing that Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan is "at the wheel of the economy.”

“The finance minister could express his concerns about the country’s finances and I could express different concerns about the future of investment, growth, employment and exports in Turkey,” he said.

Zeybekci said he was not criticized by the prime minister or the deputy PM on his conflicting words with the finance minister. “This is quite beneficial, in terms of consultation or collision of differing views. While the finance minister expresses his concern, I am telling him just the opposite. As a country, we have started a secret war on foreign exchange rates.”

Touching on criticisms on the change in the structure of the Board of Foreign Economic Relations (DEİK), Zeybekci said there had to be harmony between the targets of the country regarding the future of the economy and the targets of the private sector.

“This is not an act done against anybody. Do not say there is political disharmony between the head of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges [TOBB] and the government. There is no such thing,” he said.