Businesses worry over gov’t policy .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - Businesspeople in Turkey are concerned that the government is postponing implementing any measures against the global crisis until after the March 29 local elections, according to a survey by the Young Businessmen Association of Turkey, or TÜGİAD.

According to the survey that maps out expectations for 2009, 70 percent of businesspeople said the government was reluctant to take precautions due to the local elections. Again, a majority said the government’s focus in 2009 should be growth, not taming inflation.

More than half of respondents estimated the global crisis would end in 2010, while 27 percent said the light at the end of the tunnel would be seen this year. 37 percent of businesspeople interviewed said the most pressing concern now was the rapid contraction in the domestic market, while 26 percent said banks’ recalling credits early was the major concern.

Only 17 percent saw the contraction in export markets as the main concern.

The survey showed businesspeople are trying to increase productivity to overcome the contraction in the market. More than a quarter of those surveyed said they were increasing productivity, while 23 percent said they were canceling investment plans. A total of 25 percent said they were either laying off workers or freezing wages.

Tax burden

Businesspeople also requested the government ease the tax burden on businesses and slash employment costs. Expecting an increase in public investments, an overwhelming majority of businesspeople said a regular stand-by accord with the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, would be the right step. Only 13 percent opted for a precautionary stand-by, while 5 percent said there was no need for a new agreement.

Turkey’s last stand-by with the IMF expired in May last year, and the government is currently negotiating a new one with the bank.