EconSource: Conflict Over Economic Policy in Turkey’s AKP After Election Win

There are deep divisions in Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) over how to stop slowing growth in the country’s $800 billion economy. Some presidential advisors have called on the Central Bank of Turkey to lower interest rates to boost growth, while others, including Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, call for fiscal discipline, central bank independence, and structural reform. Both sides are jockeying for position as a new cabinet takes shape. In an interview on Friday, Simsek said Turkey needs to carry out economic reforms quickly and effectively, including a reform of the country’s tax system and budget. However, Simsek emphasized that Turkey’s macroeconomic framework will remain the same. “We hope that the income tax draft will be prioritized,” Simsek said. “It’s very important that government spending is financed through healthy tax revenues.” Meanwhile, in a report released on Thursday, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development forecast growth for Turkey at 3 percent in 2015. [Reuters, 11/6/2015]

Libya’s Nafoura, Al-Majid oilfields closed after port force majeure
Libya’s Nafoura and Al-Majid oil fields, which have a combined production of around 29,000 barrels per day, have been closed following the shutdown of the Zueitina oil port. Libya’s National Oil Corporation has declared force majeure on the port after guards there said they would only allow tankers registered with the country’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk to load crude. A spokesman for the eastern Libyan oil unit AGOCO said the two fields were closed following a decision by the Petrol Facilities Guard, a force commanded by federalist leader Ibrahim al-Jathran. [Reuters, 11/5/2015]

Egypt to import wider range of foodstuffs to lower prices
Egypt said it would import a wider array of essential items as part of its push to keep food prices down despite a dollar shortage that has crippled imports. On Thursday, the government formed a working group to take “all necessary measures to supply goods to the market and control their prices,” a cabinet statement said. On Wednesday, Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) said it issued an international tender to buy poultry for the first time. The tender marks the start of an expanded mandate for GASC to import more essential food items, a source at Egypt’s Ministry of Supply said. Ministry sources said GASC is coordinating with the Central Bank to ensure it has the dollars needed to import poultry in next week’s tender.[Reuters, 11/5/2015]

World Bank, Tunisia review cooperation
Tunisia’s Finance Minister Slim Chaker met with a delegation from the World Bank on Thursday to discuss strategic cooperation for 2016-2020. Chaker emphasized Tunisia’s priorities, namely job creation and the improvement of services and infrastructure in the country’s interior regions. He also reviewed economic reforms underway, including tax and bank reforms, facilitation of administrative procedures, and the implementation of mechanisms to promote transparency. World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly underlined the Bank’s willingness to provide financial support and technical assistance to Tunisia. She also spoke to the Bank’s concerns regarding economic reforms and the need to boost growth and job creation. Meanwhile, Tunisian Central Bank Governor Chedly Ayari said on Thursday that the technical recession of Tunisia’s economy “has become more and more of a certainty.” [TAP, 11/5/2015]

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