Gov't announces new stimulus package to counter global economic crisis
The government has embarked on yet another stimulus package to cushion the impact of the global economic crisis, which still batters the world markets, on Turkey's economy. Following a series of previous precautionary packages that have helped the economy stay afloat thus far, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a press conference on yesterday to announce the new stimulus package with wider measures. Speaking at the Prime Ministry's office in Ankara, Erdogan said the new package included incentives for investments, saying entrepreneurs will have a corporate tax rate between 2 and 10 percent according to the regions they invest in. The government has recently divided regions into four categories based on their current economic development level and also the investment opportunities they bear. Reacting against the accusations that the government has failed to address problems in economy or fight the crisis, Erdogan said such claims are completely unfair. “What we have done within the past six-and-a-half years since we came to power has been to take measures and implement reforms which have helped Turkey stand firmly on its feet, despite national and international uncertainties.” Reducing taxes, lending financial help to the unemployed, providing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with low-interest loans, increasing infrastructure investments and allocating more money to local administrations are the major measures Erdogan said the government had taken since the eruption of the current global economic crisis. Recalling that the government recently launched a new employment package, Erdogan also said the State Planning Organization (DPT) and the Turkish Employment Organization (ISKUR) will help some 500,000 unemployed people find jobs in the private sector over the next six months. He also noted they will lend financial support to young students who undergo training with private firms. “The government will pay the Social Security Institution (SGK) premiums of interns who began work after April 30 for the next six years and the Cabinet may extend this term,” he noted.