The Turkish government ran a budget deficit of 19.5 billion Turkish Liras ($5.32 billion) in March and 14.9 billion liras ($3.7 billion) in the first quarter, mainly due to temporary measures and tax cuts to boost the economy, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal stated on April 17.
“We have been giving importance to maintaining financial sustainability while supporting the economy through budget funds. Our budget gave a 19.5 billion lira deficit in March and a 14.9 billion lira deficit in the first quarter. When the temporary impact of delayed social security payments is considered, the first quarter budget deficit fell to 8.9 billion liras [$2.4 billion],” Ağbal said.
“Turkish government revenues in the first three months stood at 144.7 billion liras ($39.5 billion), marking a 9.9 percent rise year-on-year, while budget expenditures were 159.7 billion liras ($43.6 billion), with an increase of 21.3 percent compared with the same period last year,” he added.
In March, budget revenues reached 39.1 billion liras ($10.7 billion), a 3 percent fall over the same period last year, while budget expenditures increased by 25 percent, reaching 58.6 billion liras ($16.01 billion).
According to data from the ministry’s budget directorate general, the budget posted a 12.4 billion lira ($3.4 billion) non-interest rate deficit.
In the first three months of the year, the budget gave a 3.9 billion lira ($1.09 billion) surplus when interest rate payments were excluded.
Ağbal noted that the budget deficit showed an upward trend in the first quarter due to government measures and tax cuts to boost the economy.
“When these programs end in the upcoming months, the budget will back to its normal,” he added.
With the delay in social security premiums to the last quarter of this year, there was a 6 billion lira ($1.6 billion) rise in the transfers from the budget to the respective institution.
According to the ministry, tax revenues rose by 12 percent during the first three months to 121.6 billion liras ($33.2 billion).
The government’s expenditures for health, pensions, and welfare were up by almost 43 percent between January and March to 38.2 billion liras ($10.4 billion) over the same period last year, while personnel expenditures increased by 8.4 percent, reaching almost 42 billion liras ($11.5 billion).
Interest expenditures stood at 18.8 billion liras ($5.12 billion) over the same period, corresponding to an increase of 14.3 percent.
The government is aiming for a budget deficit of 46.8 billion liras (nearly $12.8 billion) at the end of the year, according to the Finance Ministry.