Turkey puts finishing touches to reform program

Published May 2nd, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Turkey will pay a heavy price for any hitch in its new economic recovery program, which received $10-billion support from the IMF and the World Bank, Turkish Economy Minister Kemal Dervis warned Monday, April 30. 

 

"Every cabinet minister should expend utmost efforts to accomplish the program. Otherwise we can face very serious troubles, this is no joke," Dervis told Turkish reporters in Washington, where he had talks with IMF, World Bank and US officials, Anatolia news agency reported. 

 

"Any hitch will cost Turkey a very heavy price. That is why we should act in harmony and with determination," added Dervis, a former World Bank vice president brought in to lead efforts to drag Turkey out of severe economic turmoil. 

 

The Turkish economy plunged into crisis in February when a public clash between its prime minister and president led to a confidence breakdown at the already fragile markets, forcing the government to float the Turkish lira in breach of an IMF-backed disinflation program. 

 

The currency lost more than a third of its value against the dollar, pushing prices up and sending the economy into a recession. 

 

Earlier this month, Dervis revealed a recovery program, which envisaged a nine-percent slash in public spending and far-reaching structural reforms, particularly in the country's weak and corruption-ravaged banking sector, seen to be at the core of financial woes. 

 

On Friday, the IMF and the World Bank announced a $10-billion rescue package for Turkey to back the reforms. Dervis has listed 15 priority laws aimed mainly at speeding up privatization and rehabilitating the banking system. 

 

The Turkish parliament has adopted a speedy working tempo to cope with the heavy legislative work and has passed half of the amendments in a few weeks. But two significant drafts, aimed at ironing out snags in the long-delayed privatization of the Turkish Telekom and toughening banking regulations, are yet to be finalized by the government and submitted to parliament. — (AFP, Ankara) 

 

© Agence France Presse 2001

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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