By Emin Avundukluoglu
Lawmakers on Monday received from the Finance Ministry a draft of the nation’s 2018 budget with the lion’s share of spending slated for education.
Finance Minister Naci Agbal is set to present the budget to parliament's Planning and Budget Commission on Oct. 25 after which the commission is expected to debate the budget for at least two weeks.
It will be debated in the general assembly at the beginning of December, where a heated exchange is expected before it gets final approval.
The budget contains an increase in education expenditures to 134 billion liras ($37 billion), including investments of 14.3 billion liras ($3.97 billion) totaling around 18 percent of total public investment
Turkey is targeting 762.8 billion lira in expenditures and 696.8 billion liras in revenue in 2018, along with nearly 600 billion Turkish liras in tax revenue.
The draft has around 85 billion Turkish liras ($23.6 billion) slated for public investments, with nearly 30 percent of that going to transportation, while health care and agriculture would get 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, the economy grew beyond expectations in the first quarter at 5.2 percent and 5.1 percent in the second quarter.
During the past three years, the country's economy expanded 5.2 percent in 2014, 6.1 percent in 2015, and 2.9 percent in 2016.
Ankara is targeting growth of 5.5 percent this year as well as through 2020, according to a medium-term economic program announced Sept. 27.