December 21, 2019 / 8:08 AM / a month ago

Turkish parliament approves 2020 budget

ANKARA, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Turkey’s parliament has approved the government’s 2020 budget, which includes increased defence spending and forecasts a budget deficit of 138.9 billion lira ($23.4 billion).

The 2020 budget, which state-run Anadolu news agency said was passed with 329 votes in favour to 159 votes against, also projects increased spending on health and education, and foresees a rise in budget revenues. It also sees increased spending on defence projects and military needs.

In 2019, the government forecasts the year-end budget deficit to be at 80.6 billion lira. Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said in July that the 2019 budget deficit-to-GDP ratio will be below 3%, despite a slowdown in income.

In September, Turkey raised its economic growth forecast to an ambitious 5% for 2020, and lowered its inflation outlook to 8.5%, as the government planned a relatively quick rebound from recession that manages not to stretch the budget.

In a presentation detailing the economic plan, Albayrak, who is President Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, said at the time that the budget will be used to finance what he called a production-based transformation of the economy.

Erdogan, who posted an audio message on social media after parliament passed the 2020 budget, said the move was a key step in reaching his government’s 2023 goals for Turkey. ($1 = 5.9356 liras) (Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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