Turkey begins distribution of cash aid to households
Turkey’s government has distributed over 12 billion Turkish Liras ($1.75 billion) to 2.1 million low-income households amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said April 15, adding that 2.3 million more households would receive aid soon.
“All of our institutions are mobilized to convey support implemented as part of the Economic Stability Shield,” Albayrak said in a video on his Twitter account.
The government has vowed to provide 4.4 million families in need with 1,000 liras ($148) since it announced an economic stability package on March 18 to shield individuals and firms from the impact of the pandemic.
Albayrak also recalled that state lenders received applications for a low-interest credit package of up to 10,000 Turkish liras ($1,477) for families with monthly incomes under 5,000 liras ($740). As of April 15, a total of 12.1 billion liras ($1.75 billion) has been sent to 2.1 million applicants in the scheme, he said.
Over 412,000 shop owners applied to state-owned Halkbank for cheap loans of up to 25,000 liras (around $3,600), Albayrak said, noting that half of them had received credits of 6.7 billion liras ($977.3 million) in total.
In addition, nearly 40,000 firms – most of them small and medium-sized – have received loans of 36.3 billion liras ($5.2 billion), he said.
The minister reiterated that his office would push forward to solve problems between private banks and their customers regarding demands for loan repayment deferments and restructuring.
“We have heard that those who want to restructure a loan plan or to settle a savings account face excessive costs. It is unacceptable. We want it to be known that we will address these issues meticulously,” said Albayrak.
The Turkish government launched the Economic Stability Shield package following an economic “rebalancing” period, he said.
“We have been managing this process without demanding any support or aid from an international body or institution,” he added, expressing his hopes that Turkey would enter the post-virus period in the best possible position.
First-quarter budget deficit $4.85 bln
The Turkish government posted a 29.6 billion-lira (some $4.85 billion) budget deficit between January and March, the Treasury and Finance Ministry also announced on April 15.
The country’s budget revenues totaled 255.75 billion liras (some $41.9 billion) in the first three months of the year, rising 17 percent year on year.
But budget expenditures also rose 12.1 percent to hit 285.3 billion liras (some $46.77 billion), representing a $4.85 billion deficit.
Excluding interest payments, there was a final surplus of 8.67 billion liras ($1.42 billion) in the budget balance in the first quarter.
Official figures showed that tax revenues surged 14.1 percent to 176.1 billion liras (around $28.86 billion), while interest payments amounted to 38.25 billion liras ($6.27 billion) over the same period.