Turkey to reduce transparency for ministry budgets

Budgets for ministries in Turkey will no longer be required the inclusion of functional classification tables, according to a new decree published in the Official Gazette.

Parliament will only vote on the total budget for ministries for the coming year, and lawmakers will not be able to see a breakdown of how the budget is to be spent, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Tuesday.

The change will mean that the money paid to contractors for infrastructure projects such as roads, service buildings, bridges and city hospitals will no longer be public information, the newspaper said.

Several large-scale infrastructure projects have been implemented under a public-private partnership model in recent years, with government guarantees for minimum number of users in projects like bridges. As the guarantees are signed into contracts over foreign currencies, the drop in the lira’s value since 2018 has caused a sharp rise in the cost of such projects.

The Health Ministry decided to scrap the PPP model last year due to the skyrocketing costs of city hospitals.

At the time of parliamentary discussions over the bill, opposition lawmaker and member of the Parliamentary Planning Commission Kamil Okyay Sındır told daily BirGün that the amendment removed project-based budgeting, and limited public information to only a more general category of “activities.”

“We used to be able to see targets and activities, and the projects with their sources as part of the activities,” Sındır said. “This will later turn into a restricted model for supervision.”