The January budget surplus remained far below expectations at 1.9 billion Turkish Liras, as the decline in the contribution of privatization revenues declined sharply compared to the same period last year.
The budget had logged a 5.9 billion lira surplus in the same month last year, lifting the primary surplus to 11.2 billion liras. According to budget balance figures announced by the Finance Ministry, the primary surplus was 6.9 billion lira this January.
In a statement released following the announcement of the data, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek pointed to the lower privatization income compared to last year. “Despite the budget surplus being lower than last January’s 5.9 billion liras surplus, this difference is caused by 4.2 billion-lira privatization income transferred to budget last year,” Şimşek said.
Surging by over 16 percent, the rise of central government spending has outstripped revenues, which rose only 2.8 percent through January. The ministry announced that January revenue amounted to 37.9 billion liras and the expenditure was 36 billion liras. Non-tax revenue dropped by 45.2 percent to 4.2 billion liras.
Even the Finance Ministry’s tightened financial auditing, which raised tax revenues by 15 percent and 32.7 billion liras, failed to cover the losses stirred by the decline in privatization revenue. In his statement, Şimşek praised the tax collection performance of the government, recalling that almost all tax items had recorded a surge.
He stressed that personal spending, current transfers and investment expenditures had led the primary spending upsurge. “In particular, investment expenditures were relatively high in January at 2 billion liras. But we don’t see any problem with that as this spending is for infrastructure investments that boost productive capacity and enhance economic growth,” he stated. Şimşek is still confident that the government will not miss its medium-term budget targets.
“I fully believe that we will achieve our 33.3 billion-lira budget deficit target,” he said.