Turkish gov’t to announce new transparency reforms: Deputy PM Babacan
Sefer Levent ISTANBUL
Turkey’s record has worsened the most of all surveyed states in 2014, according to Transparency International’s most recent Corruption Perceptions Index of 175 countries.The government is set to complete a detailed reform package to increase economic transparency in Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has told a group of economy reporters ahead of his visit to the United States.
“Transparency really matters. It is one of the main priorities of the G-20 countries as well. We have taken many steps to improve transparency in Turkey since 2002. And we have recently completed around 80-90 percent of a new, detailed reform to further enhance transparency. We’ll discuss the draft package very soon. We’ll be announcing it by the end of this year, I believe,” Babacan said.
According to Transparency International’s most recent Corruption Perceptions Index of 175 countries, Turkey’s record has worsened the most of all surveyed states in 2014, dropping by five points to 45.
Some 46 percent of Turkish businesspeople believe corruption will increase in Turkey, according to a report issued by the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) on Nov. 27.
“We are now examining the results of these detailed reports. I, however, believe what has happened in Turkey since Dec. 17, 2013, is directly affecting how Turkey is perceived across the world,” he noted.
Babacan made a special emphasis on the planned steps to improve competitiveness and fair distribution of rent in the construction sector.
“A rise in a land’s value should be observed properly and this value should be distributed fairly. The creation of a competitive environment is a must to be able to reach this goal. If there is no room for competitiveness, it is no good for us. We made a detailed report to increase transparency in real sector with other ministers and municipalities. This draft will be reviewed by the council of ministers soon and be approved as a government decision,” he said.
It is also planned to give the chance to the state to ask for a share from a land, of which value is increase after opening to construction by this package.
Babacan stressed in September that earning money in the construction sector is “easy” and pulls down the share of industries in the national income, adding that this is “not a good trend.”
“The development plan code should be adapted to prevent easy earnings. The code needs to be regulated,” he said, adding that one of the fundamental problems is that the return on investments in industry takes five or six years, which is much longer than construction, on a televised interview on Sept. 3.
He also noted that the government is now working a series of reforms aiming at encouraging Turkish banks to take out longer term debts.
“When we have a look at the foreign debt distribution of the banks, we see some 60 percent of their debts are in short-term, and the remaining 40 percent in longer terms. We are now working of a number of measures to encourage them to take loans in longer terms, as the shorter-term debts are
increasing the cost perceptions of Turkey,” he said.
Babacan will attend a special roundtable in NYC with 29 other representatives from leading economy actors, including the European Central Bank and NY Fed.