ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s government ran a budget surplus of 3.7 billion liras ($1.26 billion) in May this year, Finance Minister Naci Agbal said Wednesday.
The government's budget surplus during the Jan.-May 2016 period stood at 9.1 billion Turkish liras ($3.1 billion), Agbal said in a statement.
“In the first five months of this year we have the highest budget surplus, excluding interest payments, for 13 years,” he said.
"The budget performance has been achieved in spite of the volatility in global financial markets, increased geopolitical tensions in the region and problems in foreign trade," he added.
According to the finance ministry, the Turkish government’s budget revenue reached 231 billion Turkish liras ($79 billion) in the first five months of the year, which was a 16.7 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
Tax revenue also increased by 11.5 percent within the period to reach 183.4 billion liras ($62.5 billion). Budget expenditures between Jan.-Feb. rose to 221.9 billion Turkish liras ($75.8 billion), marking a 10.8 percent increase year-on-year.
Interest expenses stood at 24.2 billion liras ($8.3 billion) in that period, a decrease of 13.7 percent.
State spending on health, pensions and welfare increased by 20.8 percent in the first five months of the year to reach 10.5 billion liras ($3.6 billion) compared with the same period last year.
The government’s personnel expenses also increased by 21 percent in the period to reach 63.8 billion liras ($21.8 billion).
“Fiscal discipline, which is important to support the country’s struggle with the current account deficit, to create fiscal space for reforms and to keep the risk perception of the country low, will be maintained in the coming period,” the minister also added.
Government revenue in May stood at 49.5 billion Turkish liras ($16.9 billion) -- an 18.6 percent increase year-on-year while budget expenditure was 45.9 billion Turkish liras ($15.6 billion), up 14.3 percent from a year earlier.
In 2016, the Turkish Finance Ministry estimated that budget expenses for the fiscal year would reach 570.5 billion Turkish liras ($194.8 billion), while budget income would reach 540.8 billion ($184.6 billion), resulting in a budget deficit of 29.7 billion Turkish liras ($8.6 billion).
The ministry also estimated that the deficit hit 1.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2016.
The Turkish central government's budget ran a deficit of 22.6 billion liras ($7.4 billion) last year.