Turkey has revised its 2001 deficit forecast for the social security system from 1,830 trillion lira ($1.6 billion) to 2,200 trillion lira, Labor and Social Security Minister Yasar Okuyan said on Wednesday, May 30.
Before a crisis in February, the Ministry forecast a deficit of 1,830 trillion lira, but the government now expects a contraction in the economy of three percent. Many companies have already laid off workers.
Speaking at the general assembly of social security institution Bagkur, Okuyan said the deficit would have risen to 4,300 trillion lira except that the ministry has hiked premiums by 40 percent which will limit the deficit to 2,200 trillion.
Turkey has attempted to make cuts in social security payments and wages paid to civil servants, holding wages at or below the rate of inflation since 1999 and introducing a new social security law to raise the retirement age in an effort to stem rising public expenditure.
Okuyan said that Turkey's social security organizations have suffered from a lack of supervision and control resulting in excessive payments of 1,000 trillion lira each year. The Minister said the government would tighten supervision of the system by introducing new automated mechanisms.
Under a new economic program supported by $15.7 billion of IMF and World Bank loans, Turkey has promised to run a tight budget this year so as to be able to service its heavy debt burden. ― (Reuters, Ankara)
© Reuters 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)