By Tuba Sahin and Gokhan Ergocun
ANKARA / ISTANBUL (AA) - The Turkish central government's budget balance posted a nearly 173 billion Turkish lira ($24.7 billion) deficit in 2020, easily beating the target of 239 billion Turkish liras ($34 billion), Turkey's president announced on Friday.
Despite a year-on-year rise in the budget deficit in 2020, the government is aiming for a permanent improvement in the figure, said Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey's central government budget balance posted a deficit of 123.7 billion Turkish liras ($21.77 billion) in 2019, up from 72.6 billion Turkish liras ($14.8 billion) in 2018.
"If Turkey achieves its growth target for 2020, the budget-deficit-to-GDP ratio will hit 3.6%, beating the mid-term program target," said the president.
Under the country’s new economic program announced last September, the government had expected to see a 4.9% budget-deficit-to-gross-domestic-product ratio.
But in light of promising new figures, Turkey's new 2021 target for budget-deficit-to-GDP ratio is 3.5%, the president added.
The country's budget revenues in 2020 reached over 1 trillion Turkish liras ($147 billion) while expenditures hit 1.2 trillion Turkish liras ($171 billion), he stressed.
"We will make no concessions on fiscal discipline," he stressed.
In 2020 the average U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate was around 7.02.
Erdogan added that in the days to come the country will not compromise on either economic confidence or stability.
"Turkey needs a new leap in trade diplomacy," he said.
Touching on the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Erdogan said the Turkish government will continue taking steps against the virus in both the macroeconomic and financial fields.
Turkey is ready for both difficulties and opportunities, and will be strong and competitive in the post-pandemic period, said Erdogan.