TODAY’S – Central bank sets example for frugal public spending

Central bank sets example for frugal public spendingIn stark contrast to the overspending and extravagance of other government institutions, the personnel at the Central Bank of Turkey have been following strict rules in order to be economical and avoid wasting public finances. While on the one hand we see lavish spending on President Recep Tayyip ErdoIanand#39s new presidential palace — with a TL 14 billion price tag — and on the new official car for the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate — reportedly costing TL 1 million — the Taraf daily reported on Tuesday that on the other hand, the central bank is strictly adhering to the andldquoPrime Ministry Directive on Savings Precautionsandrdquo that outlines how government institutions can be more frugal and refrain from wasteful public spending.

According to Tarafand#39s report, the head of the Central Bank of Turkey, Erdem BaII, also known as the andldquomoney boss,andrdquo due to the transactions he signs off on daily that are cumulatively worth billions of lira, ensures that the personnel working at the central bank adhere to the rules of the Prime Ministryand#39s directive while also abiding by them himself.Erdem BaII is reported to use a 20-year-old Mercedes Benz as his official car and a 25-year-old office, whereas the offices and private vehicles belonging to the heads of other government institutions are changed as often as every three to five years.

The report also states that official vehicles are shared one private car is used for three deputy managers, whereas normal practice would generally result in each of them being allotted a private vehicle. According to Taraf, one car routinely picks up the three managers from their homes, much like a school bus, and takes them to work at the building in Ankaraand#39s Ulus district that has been used by the central bank for years.

In another example of the central bankand#39s thriftiness, the chairs used by administrative personnel are apparently over 30 years old and if a chair is required, old ones from the storehouse are fixed and put back into use.This display of sensitivity toward the sensible use of public finances paints a contrasting picture to the recent displays of extravagance from other public institutions, namely the new presidential palace, dubbed Ak Saray, which ErdoIan admitted has over 1,100 rooms.

Early in November, Mehmet IimIek, the finance minister, announced that the cost of the palace was TL 137 billion ($615 million), adding that TL 964 million had already been spent on the new palace and that the government had allocated TL 300 million more in the 2015 budget for building costs. However, the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) has refused to reveal the actual cost of the new presidential palace, saying the disclosure of the palaceand#39s price tag might damage the countryand#39s economic interests.

IimIek signaled possible new taxation legislation during budget talks in Parliament on Dec. 19, indicating that additional taxes on luxury goods may be introduced in the near future in order to increase public revenue.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman