Turkey's Babacan: Economic crisis boosting reforms

GMT 23:44 2014 Wednesday ,25 June

Arab Today, arab today Turkey's Babacan: Economic crisis boosting reforms

Ali Babacan
Jeddah - Anadolu

"Countries are going through big challenges, but the challenges also mean opportunities to do necessary reforms," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy, Ali Babacan, has said.
His comments came in a speech on Wednesday at the meeting of the 40th Anniversary Celebration and the 39th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Babacan said Turkey was going to chair the G20 next year and there was a new saying between G20 colleagues - "never waste a crisis" - meaning sometimes difficult situations are the best times to do necessary but difficult reforms and to move forward.
 "When we talk about integration and cooperation - having our economies as open as possible - is very important," said Babacan.
He said economies should be as open as possible so that cooperation and integration will continue.
“We should make sure people move from one country to another country in an easy way, as good capital and also energy move from one country to another country in an easy way,” the minister said.
Babacan also said free movement of people was important.
“It is very important countries work on visa facilitation agreements or free trade agreements to make it easier for other countries to better integrate with each other,” he said.
Babacan went on: “Integration is necessary but it is not sufficient. A well-functioning, competitive environment in the countries is also important.
"Sector by sector, making sure we are open for competition. The competition means actually productive - it means efficiency. Less state involvement, but more private sector involvement and that very naturally way helps cooperation and also integration.”
Babacan stressed that making countries more dependent on each other economically creates more guarantees of better a environment, and having closer economic links and more economic interdependence were a guarantee for long-term good political relations between countries.  
He said: "Countries - there are exceptional countries - have high public debt. When the private sector is involved in the infrastructure project, it means less government spending and less budget deficit and less public debts.
"But also these projects are more efficient if the private sector is involved in the construction phase, and also in the operation phase."
Babacan added that Turkey had actually implemented, in quite a successful way, toll ways, bridges, terminal buildings, health care campuses and many other projects.
He went on: "When the private sector constructs, it is much faster, higher quality. Because time has a big value in the private sector. Sometimes it is not the case for governments.
"I am telling this as a government member of 12 years. So the private sector is more efficient and much faster than the public sector most of the time, even for infrastructure projects."
The Islamic Development Bank is an international financial institution established in in Jeddah in 1973 aimed to foster the economic development and social progress of member countries and Muslim communities individually as well as jointly in accordance with the principles of Shari'ah - including Islamic Law.
Last year in May, the bank tripled its authorized capital to $150 billion to better serve Muslims in member and non-member countries and Saudi Arabia holds about one quarter of the bank's paid-up capital.
The present membership of the bank consists of 56 countries.


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