By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey's central government budget balance posted a deficit of 36.2 billion Turkish liras ($6.5 billion) in the first quarter of 2019, the Treasury and Finance Ministry announced on Monday.
Turkey's budget revenues soared by 30.4% year-on-year to hit 218.28 billion Turkish liras ($39.32 billion) in the January-March period of 2019, according to the official data.
The country's budget expenditures reached 254.44 billion Turkish liras ($45.84 billion) in the first quarter, increasing 35.44% compared with the same period of last year.
Excluding the interest payments, the budget balance saw a deficit of 2.8 billion Turkish liras (some $500 million) in the period, while the interest expenditures were around 33.36 billion Turkish liras ($6 billion).
The government's tax incomes reached 154.3 billion Turkish liras ($27.8 billion) during the quarter, indicating a rise of 5.8% on a yearly basis.
The U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate was 5.55 as of end of March.
Last year, Turkey's central government budget balance showed a deficit of 72.6 billion Turkish liras ($14.8 billion), meeting a year-end target under the country's new economic program announced in September last year.
The government achieved the target of 1.9% budget-deficit-to-gross-domestic-product ratio in 2018 under the program.
According to the same program, the budget deficit/GDP ratio target is 1.8% this year, 1.9% next year, and 1.7% in 2021.