Duvar English

Ali Babacan, once in charge of Turkey’s economy, has detailed a plan to support the private sector, as the economy faces challenges from the coronavirus outbreak.

Babacan, formerly a close associate of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has recently launched his Democracy and Progress Party, or DEVA — an acronym that means “remedy” in Turkish.

In a statement released on March 17, Babacan proposed a series of measures to limit the negative financial effects of the novel coronavirus on the businesses and citizens.

The government should prevent job losses as several firms will not be able to fight the virus’ financial toll, Babacan said. The government should either postpone or cut payroll taxes for businesses, he noted. “Every kind of employment incentive should be utilized as soon as possible. Unemployment funds are for these days,” he said.

The government should implement exemptions on any kind of public sector-related payments until the “effects of the crisis subside,” Babacan said.

He also urged the authorities to postpone electricity, water and gas bill payments. “The distribution companies [of electricity, water and gas] should be given the necessary [financial] support which will be in need of financial aid as a result,” he said.

Authorities should make sure that banks ease their rules on providing consumer loans as well as their rules on credit card debt payments, DEVA chairman said.

The Central Bank should make sure that banks’ liquidity needs are met, he noted.

“The design of the public expenditures should be reviewed with an understanding which gives importance to our people’s health and will prevent job losses in the sectors affected by the crisis and such expenditures should be given a priority,” he said.

“Implementations which will weaken the supply chain of staple food and agricultural products should be avoided.”