Turkiye: Bridge, highway tolls not to be hiked this year

Tolls charged for bridges and highways will not be increased in 2023, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced.

Several projects were implemented under the public-private partnership model without putting additional burden on the budget, Erdoğan said, following a cabinet meeting in Ankara on Jan. 9.

“The Osmangazi Bridge, the Istanbul-Ankara Highway and the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge contributed $10 billion, $29 billion and $5 billion, respectively, to our national income. The contributions of the Avrasya Tunnel and Istanbul Airport are $7 billion and $80 billion,” the president added, noting that investments in the transportation infrastructure have amounted to $200 billion.

“On the principle that we return what we take from people,we decided not to increase bridge and highway tolls in 2023,” Erdoğan said.

Meanwhile, Mustafa Elitaş, the group deputy chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said that the increases in civil servant salaries and pensions, along with government support for a hike in minimum wage, will cost the budget 300 billion Turkish Liras ($16 billion).

The government initially announced a 25 percent increase in the salaries of civil servants and pensions. Erdoğan pledged another 5 percent raise, which brought the total increase to 30 percent.

The government earlier announced an around 55 percent increase in the minimum wage, increasing it from 5,500 liras to 8,500 liras.

Erdoğan said the government will pay 400 liras to the companies per one minimum wage worker.

The lowest pension will increase from 3,500 liras to 5,000 liras, and this will cover 2.7 million pensioners, Elitaş said, speaking at the parliament’s planning and budget commission.

Some 1.7 million businesses and 7.5 million employees will benefit from the 400 liras government support for minimum wage, he said.

“The increase in pensions and the hike in civil servants’ salaries will cost 131.5 billion liras and 128.4 billion liras, respectively, while the cost of the minimum wage support to be provided in the January-June period will amount to 17.1 billion liras,” Elitaş said.


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