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Turkey takes measures to control rising budget deficit

Reuters/Cagla Gurdogan
Finance minister Mehmet Simsek will give a speech and answer investors' questions at Goldman Sachs headquarters

Turkey is taking measures to re-establish fiscal discipline and control the level of the budget deficit, finance minister Mehmet Simsek said.

The budget deficit for the first five months of the year was 263.6 billion lira ($10.12 billion), compared with 124.6 billion lira a year ago, due to increased spending ahead of May’s elections and the impact of February’s earthquakes in southern Turkey.

“We will not allow permanent deterioration in public finance indicators by reestablishing fiscal discipline and taking budget deficit under control,” Simsek said on Twitter.

Turkey hiked VAT, fees and consumer loan taxes on Friday.

A draft law being discussed in the parliament seeks to increase corporate tax to fund rebuilding efforts after February’s earthquakes killed more than 50,000 people and left millions homeless in the south.

Simsek said more than 319,000 units of housing will be built and delivered within one year to people who lost their homes.

“The package, which is being discussed in the parliament, aims to reduce the impact of the additional costs caused by the earthquake on the budget. These regulations will also indirectly support taking the current account deficit under control.”