Turkey to up tax revenues

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey aims to increase its tax revenues by 1,750 trillion lira ($1.16 billion) in 2002 as part of revenue-raising and cost-saving steps needed to earn fresh IMF lending, economy officials told Reuters over the weekend. The week before, the government had announced a range of measures designed to trim a budget deficit but many details of the plan are still to be made clear. Newspapers have put a figure of 7,100 trillion lira on the total savings expected from slashing civil service jobs, adjusting taxes and other measures. No officials have confirmed that figure. Tax officials who asked not to be named told Reuters that the bulk of the increased tax revenues would come from an increase in the Fuel Consumption Tax. Turkey expects to raise 5,525 trillion lira from the fuel tax in 2001 and had targeted 10,509 trillion for 2002, after increases to the charges on various fuels already enacted this year. Officials now say increasing these charges by a further 4-5 percent and including some kinds of natural gas under the tax, which currently exempts them, would raise an additional 1,100 trillion lira. This explains why well-known foreign banks and investment houses estimate that Greece’s weight in the MSCI benchmark indexes, such as the MSCI EAFE and MSCI Europe, will increase, even if only slightly, with this week’s change.

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