ANKARA: Turkey ran a budget deficit of 24.3 billion Turkish liras (nearly $6.7 billion) in the first seven months of 2017, Finance Minister Naci Agbal said Tuesday. In a written statement, Agbal said: “The budget deficit in this period was recorded due to government incentives and actions to support economic growth. This January to June, government revenues reached 351.6 billion Turkish liras (around $96.8 billion), while expenditures were 375.9 billion liras (around $103.5 billion), marking a $6.7-billion deficit. “In the coming period, the upward trend in budget deficit will diminish along with the end of supportive practices to stimulate economy,” he said. “Since the beginning of this year, economic indicators from the channels of production, consumption and foreign trade have been extremely positive.”
According to Turkish Statistical Institute, the economy grew 5 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the period of January-March 2016 while the government has targeted a growth rate of 4.4 percent by the end of the year. “Preliminary figures for the rest of this year show that the end-year economic growth will be higher than our targets,” the finance minister said. Over the past three years, the country’s economy expanded 5.2 percent in 2014, 6.1 percent in 2015 and 2.9 percent in 2016. Government tax revenues reached 292.1 billion Turkish liras (around $80.4 billion) between January and July in this year with a 15.6 percent year-on-year increase. Agbal said the recovery in economic activities had a positive effect on tax revenues. The seven-month interest expenditures stood at 32.7 billion Turkish liras (some $9 billion), marking a 7.1 percent hike compared with same period of 2016. Meanwhile, the budget had a surplus of 926 million Turkish liras (nearly $260 million) last month, compared with a deficit of 13.7 billion Turkish liras (around $3.9 billion) in June. “In the coming period, however, we will continue to demonstrate our commitment to fiscal discipline by controlling rise in expenditures and keeping the budget deficit to a reasonable level,” Agbal added. Turkey ran a 29.3 billion Turkish lira (some $9.7 billion) budget deficit last year while the government is aiming for a budget deficit of 46.9 billion Turkish liras (nearly $12.9 billion) at the end of 2017, according to the Finance Ministry.