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Turkey unveils new economic program for 2019-2021

Turkey's new economic program based on three fundamental pillars -- stabilization, discipline and transformation -- was unveiled on Thursday. 

Announcing the program, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said the country will activate a comprehensive set of economic policies.

"A Public Finance Transformation and Change Office has been established under the new economic program," Albayrak said.

"We will use all necessary policies and measures to overcome economic challenges.

"We expect a stabilization process for next year and 2020, so the new economic program aims for 2.3 percent economic growth in 2019," he added.

Albayrak said that this year’s economic growth target is 3.8 percent.

"The country will set sustainable and healthy economic growth through strategies and measures as announced in the new program.

“We aim to reach 3.5 percent growth in 2020 and 5 percent by 2021,” he added. 

The Turkish economy grew by 5.2 percent this April-June, preceded 7.3 percent in the first quarter of this year, 7.3 percent in October-December 2017, and 11.5 percent in the third quarter of last year. 

Stabilization, discipline

"Our major intention is to support a stabilization process with disciplined public finance," he said. 

According to the new economic Medium-Term Program (MTP), Turkey is targeting a 1.9-percent budget-deficit-to-gross-domestic-product (GDP) ratio this year, and 1.7 percent in 2021.

“In order to maintain our strong stance in public finance, we have begun to take some measures to ensure the correct use of resources in the public sector starting today," said Albayrak.

Turkey's central government budget balance posted a deficit of 50.8 billion Turkish liras ($11.4 billion) this January to August. The country's budget revenues totaled 485.7 billion Turkish liras ($109 billion) in the first eight months of this year, up nearly 19 percent year-on-year.

Last year, the budget deficit was 47.4 billion Turkish liras ($12.9 billion), totaling around 1.5 percent of the country's GDP. 

Transformation, employment

On transformation, Albayrak said that the main target is to focus on value-added areas which will boost the country's export volume and long-term production capacity.

"You will see the most concrete example of this in investment projects that we will support,” he added.

In creating employment, Albayrak said Turkey will generate 2 million new jobs by the end of the MTP period, with an unemployment rate target of 10.8 percent in 2021. 

As of June, Turkey's unemployment rate was 10.2 percent -- some 3.3 million unemployed people -- while the number of people employed was 29.3 million. 

Last year, the lowest unemployment rate was seen in May and June with 10.2 percent. Over the past five years, the highest unemployment rate was 13 percent in January 2017, while the lowest was in June 2013 with 8.1 percent. 

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