Turkish Parliament OKs general budget for 2015

Turkish Parliament OKs general budget for 2015

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkish Parliament OKs general budget for 2015

AA Photo

The Turkish Parliament has approved the government’s central administration budget for 2015 with 297 votes in favor and 145 against, with the largest share being given to education and health, as Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan’s comments on the new Presidential building and other new public buildings marked the budget discussions.

“It brings no good to anyone to create polemics around the buildings and vehicles used by the representatives of the country. The renewed public buildings are the natural outcome of Turkey’s high growth,” said Babacan.

“The newly-built Presidential and Prime Ministry buildings and air transportation vehicles were allocated to service the authorities, not individuals,” he added.

The cost of Turkey’s controversial new presidential palace currently stands at 1.37 billion Turkish Liras ($615 million), surpassing earlier estimates, according to fresh data provided by Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek.

Some $432.7 million has been paid for the construction of the “Ak Saray,” or “White Palace” in English, while a further $135 million has been allocated for the palace in 2015, Şimşek told Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission on Nov. 4.

The government gives great importance to developing transportation infrastructure, health and educational systems, said Babacan.

He also noted Turkey has continued growing and creating new jobs despite regional security risks and global economic problems.

“We expect the current account deficit to decrease from 7.9 percent of the GDP in 2013 to five percent this year. We may even see it drop to four percent, as long as the oil prices do not increase. We will finish this year with a budget deficit of around 1.4 percent, much lower than our previous expectation of 1.9 percent, while our target for the budget deficit is 1.1 percent next year,” he said.

Biggest share on education, health

The Finance Ministry estimated the budget expenses for the 2015 fiscal year at 520.4 billion liras ($225 billion), while budget income for 2014 was estimated at 499.5 billion liras ($216 billion), resulting in a budget deficit of 20.9 billion liras ($9 billion).

The budget was debated in Parliament’s planning and budget commission and in the general assembly during the last few weeks before it was approved. The biggest share of the budget was allocated to the ministries of education and health, with each receiving $38 billion. This shows an increase of $2.4 billion for education and $4.5 billion for the health ministry when compared to 2014 figures.

According to the Finance Ministry, the growth rate of Turkey’s gross domestic product will be four percent in 2015, while the expected Consumer Price Index would be 6.3 percent by the end of 2015.

The budget deficit narrowed to 11.3 billion liras ($4.9 billion) in the first 11 months of 2014. This shows a significant reduction from the 18.4 billion lira ($8.3 billion) budget deficit in 2013. Turkey’s government revenues reached 387 billion liras ($167.5 billion) in the first 11 months of 201