The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s policy on election expenses in the first three months of 2019 will spark off serious economic difficulties later on, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Faik Öztrak has said.
“The nation suffers while [Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak] gives good news of 5 billion Turkish Liras [around $953 million] surplus in the [central government] budget. The minister does not know how to evaluate the budget figures,” Öztrak told reporters following the CHP’s Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Feb. 18.
“The date of the Central Bank’s 34 billion lira profit [$6.5 billion] which is normally scheduled to be paid to the Treasury in April was brought forward to January, and a budgetary surplus was recorded because of this transaction,” Öztrak said.
Primary expenditures increased by 67 percent, compared to January 2018, due to the upcoming elections, according to the spokesperson.
“This [34 billion liras] meant to come in April. What will happen to the budgetary deficit when this amount will not be included in April?” he said.
“When excluding the dividends from the early collection from the Central Bank, the budget which had a surplus of 1.7 billion liras [$321 million] in January 2018, has a deficit of 28.7 billion liras [$5.4 billion] in January 2019. Now, what does this mean?” he added.
“Then, you will try to cover up election expenses by saying that we had a surplus,” Öztrak said.
The CHP spokesperson also stressed that municipal sales of produces is not sustainable and will cause damage to producers, not grocery stores.
“Even in the 2001 crisis, there were no lines before fruit and vegetable stands,” he added, referring to one of the severest financial crisis Turkey had suffered from between 2000 and 2001.
Öztrak stressed the only thing that will decrease food prices is to bring down the farmers’ input costs.
“When there are excessive price hikes in oil fuels, fertilizers, seeds and seedlings, the prices of products on the racks will not decrease,” he said.