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    Turk gov't prepares for a new social security amnesty worth $18.7 bln

    Hurriyet English with wires
    15.05.2008 - 11:42 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkish Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Celik said on Thursday that the government is preparing an amnesty to restructure the premium debts of employers worth 23.4 billion YTL ($18.7 billion) due to the Social Security Institution (SSK) and the Occupational Pension Fund (Bag-Kur). (UPDATED)

    As in incentive to clear outstanding premium debts, the government is offering an 85 percent discount on debt interest due for those who pay within in 3-months, 55 percent for one year, and 30 percent for those pay within 24 months, Celik said in his parliamentary speech during the debates on employment.

     

    The Social Security Institution, which includes both SSK and Bag-Kur members, is owed 9 billion YTL ($5.9 billion) and 33.1 billion YTL ($21.8 billion) respectively in unpaid premiums.

     

    Minister of Finance Kemal Unakitan had earlier denied on Thursday that such an issue had been discussed between his ministry and the Ministry of Labor. "We had a brief discussion with the labor minister, but I have not seen any bill prepared on the issue." had said Unakitan, in response to a question from reporters upon his arrival at parliament.

     

    In an amnesty offered in 2006, the government had a late fee to unpaid social security premium debts. 

     

    The amnesty decision contradicts the latest letter of intent sent by the government to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As part of the discussions regarding the new IMF stand-by deal, the government had said it would not offer an amnesty on social security debt.

     

    This latest amnesty decision by the government is expected to cause conflict between Turkey and the IMF. Turkey has also delayed making a decision on a new IMF stand-by arrangement to replace the previous loan agreement that expired on May 10.

     

     

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