Turkey gives contractors generous guarantees for hospitals – columnist

Turkey’s government has given generous guarantees to contractors who are setting up new city hospitals under the umbrella of the state health system, said Murat Muratoğlu, a columnist for daily newspaper Sözcü.

The firms are building the hospitals on free Treasury land and then renting the facilities to the state over at least 25 years, Muratoğlu said. The contracts include payments from the government to the private sector that guarantee that the hospitals are used at a minimum capacity of 70 percent, he said.

The United Kingdom considered introducing a similar system and then abandoned the plans when its government discovered that costs were too high, Muratoğlu said.

As well as renting the facilities to the government, the companies will make money from x-ray machines, cleaning and security services, laboratories and restaurants, the columnist said. Income can also be earned from car parks and other facilities such as snack bars, he said.

Turkey’s government has been criticised by opposition parties and some analysts for awarding revenue guarantees to firms in the construction industry for building infrastructure such as bridges, roads, tunnels and airports. The projects have caused losses for the Treasury when they failed to meet agreed targets for their usage.

The hospital construction agreements also include tax breaks and allow the firms to extend contracts to 49 years, Muratoğlu said.