Turkish gov’t to make big shift in regional development policy: Development minister

Turkish gov’t to make big shift in regional development policy: Development minister

Hacer Boyacıoğlu – ANKARA
Turkish gov’t to make big shift in regional development policy: Development minister Turkish Development Minister Lütfi Elvan has said the government will introduce some big changes to its regional development policy, adding the state would introduce problem-free investment zones for companies, as well as new precautions to ensure the 4.5 percent growth target.

“We are changing the regional development concept. The development agencies in 26 regions will slowly depart from their grant programs and will give credits without interest or with zero interest,” Elvan told daily Hürriyet, adding that the reinforcements would not be the same in all areas.

“For instance, we will only tend towards livestock in the [northeastern] Kars-Ardahan region. As the central government, we will reinforce the livestock departments in the universities in that region. Such a structure will be formed,” he added. 

Elvan said the priority of development agencies would be youth and women, adding they would work for entrepreneurial youth in 26 regions. 

Saying that growth has been continuing for 26 quarters, Elvan stressed that a growth target of 4.5 percent for this year was set. 

“However, if we don’t adopt some precautions, it’s possible that it [growth] can go below 4.5 percent. That’s why we’ve been taking and will take serious precautions,” Elvan said, adding that he hoped the target would be reached through these precautions. 

“We will enhance the investment setting for growth. Structural reforms and transformation programs will be a top priority. We will establish a setting where the investor could look confidently to the future and not be afraid of sudden changes and uncertainties. We’ve started new efforts [in this direction],” he added.

Saying that the Development Ministry aimed to present the areas where infrastructure works were conducted by the public, permissions were taken and which were prepared for investment, to the private sector, Elvan added that the sectors to be provided with this facility were not yet determined. 

“We will carry out the procedures as public, including taking necessary permissions, setting up infrastructure, civil service works and procedures, which were made by the investor. Moreover, the investor will be able to see the types of investment areas in an electronic setting without going out into the field. We are planning to complete it in the beginning of 2017. The investor will take the keys of his investment when the project is completed,” Elvan said. 

Elvan also mentioned international indexes, saying they would work on the indexes where Turkey had a low ranking.

Another subject the minister touched upon was migration, as he said efforts would take place to prevent migration in eastern Turkey. 

“Plenty of efforts will take place in order to prevent migration in the east. Attraction centers are among those. We will focus on intense labor sectors there, textiles for example. ‘If you move you factory here from Istanbul, your factory building will be provided by us,’ we will say to the textile businessman,” Elvan said. 

Elvan’s statements came after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced the details of a planned economic package to lure more foreign capital and improve Turkey’s investment climate.

“We are talking about a comprehensive economic package which touches each part of society and eases life for investors,” the prime minister said, noting the package included radical reforms in a bid to lure more investments.

“There will be regulations that will decrease the stamp tax and other costs for investors. In contracts, the stamp tax and the notary fee will be charged for only one copy. This is of great importance for potential investors as we will be ceasing the execution of a 52-year-old practice which raises costs for investors,” he added.

Yıldırım also said the government would strengthen the financial structure of the Development Bank to enable it to offer loans to investors more easily. 

“We will do the same with the Exim Bank in its loan offers to exporters. Our aim is to ease the access to financing, whether for tradesmen, industrialists or others,” added Yıldırım.