Idle public buildings, lands to be put to use

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 30.06.2017 00:20

The government is working on a package that will generate revenue quickly, some of which will be seen in 2017. It was stated that the ongoing package will focus on the evaluation of the idle lands held by public administrations, according to the Turkish daily Dünya.

It was found that various public institutions, such as the PTT as well as electricity and gas administrations, acquired land in settlements, but a significant portion of them have gone unused. As a result, the land held by these administrations could be sold for housing and other developmental projects to generate income.

In a previous statement to the Dünya in early June, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal said: "They are working on a revenue package, and that these measures will not put additional burdens on the public through taxes or any other channel." According to the information obtained by the newspaper, the package mainly includes the evaluation of idle public lands and other properties, focusing on assets held by public administrations and publicly owned companies. The project was initiated within the scope of the Finance Ministry to determine these areas. The rapid sales of the appropriate land through privatization will be the priority.

There are 1,038 undeveloped properties of various sizes, most of which belong to the Treasury of Finance, within the portfolio of the Privatization Administration (PA). In addition, due to their value and legal status, there are 629 lots that belong to the treasury, privatized organizations and those in the privatization portfolio.

Due to the fact that the properties are scattered across Turkey, the value of some remain quite low, while others may prove quite valuable. The total number of properties transferred and sold by the Privatization Administration stands at 1,667. The PA carries out the sales of the land and other assets of the administrations covered by privatization. In addition to the income package, the evaluation of certain assets of the organizations not covered by the privatization is also on the agenda. It is yet to be determined whether these assets will be sold or evaluated through the proprietary institutions or the PA channels.

The project developments for the land transferred to the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) have been prioritized. A large amount of land was transferred to the fund, mostly in tourism centers, at the beginning of this year. Project development, together with investors for these lands and even their sales in the case of receiving appropriate bids, may be in question. The total amount of property transferred to the SWF has added up to around 2 million square meters.

Another immovable measure that the finance ministry has been working on is the improvement of public real estate management. Numerous public properties have been leased by the private sector or public institutions. It was stated that an increase in the leases of the public properties, especially housing, could increase income rapidly. Many private sector enterprises, especially in touristic regions and large metropolises such as Istanbul and Izmir, were established through the leasing of public lands.

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