Construction, earthquake and resources…

People ask where the government spend the money raised for earthquakes. This is not the way the government works. Although the government collects money for specific causes, things may go a little bit differently when it comes to spending….

We had to suddenly remember the reality of earthquake when we were all keeping dealing with everyday problems, working towards our hopes and dreams. First, we felt panic, then fear and anger.

As a matter of fact, markets were doing just fine until the exact minute when the earthquake hit. Early in the morning, public banks had released a very appealing rate of interest for companies manufacturing cars in Turkey. Waiting for a rate cut, car company officials had been offered an unexpected incentive instead. As I always say, incentives for enterprises must asymmetric and selective in their reward structure. Public Banks really set an example for their counterparts.

The fact that German Automotive Giant Volkswagen has released an immediate statement declaring that it would not take much longer for them to decide to launch a factory here in Turkey was a real driving force behind the recent vibrancy in stock market.

As Trump administration dismissals and resignations process continues to bring negative impact on global markets, Turkey was fortunate enough to positively stand out among its peers…At that point, earthquake hit, leading us to remember the reality of it.

Given the fact that I worked as a volunteer in disaster relief after the two major earthquakes in Turkey in 1999, I strongly believe that we must do whatever it takes to avoid experiencing the same pain and sorrows again. I also suggest all financial and non-financial institutions, particularly banks, to review their plans designed in accordance with alternative scenarios, including data security and recovery plan, earthquake preparedness and emergency plan, settlement and custody processes in case of emergencies as well as uninterruptible power supplies.

Mr. Üzeyir Garih, the late Co-President of Alarko Holding, once said, “A building constructed using post-1980s static methods can withstand up to a maximum of 8.0 Mw earthquakes”. Surely, he must have added: “Provided that people remain upright and capable”

“The way how the government uses its resources…”

To be honest, we can’t be really sure whether or not people who construct our buildings do take the “worst-case scenarios” into account when making choices. I’ve recently asked a contractor why they would not undertake contacts in Europe. He said, “We did and we failed thoroughly in an embarrassing way”. Apparently, the clients wanted the building has a strong acoustic insulation glazing, windows that can withstand up to a maximum decibel. When the construction is over, they used a sound generating machine to release an artificial avalanche. Each and every window of the building was torn to pieces even before the machine achieved the targeted decibel. Obviously, the contractors weren’t expecting anyone to request an acoustic test before the launch of the building. Having suffered serious losses, the contractor had to terminate the project.

In short, considering the fact that people from irrelevant technical backgrounds have been working in Turkish construction industry for the past few decades and 90% of housing construction is being performed by “build and sell” contractors, I think I’m not wrong in not outing too much confidence in Turkish construction sector.

On the other hand, people ask how the government spend our money raised for earthquake victims. This is not the way the government works. Although the government claims that it collects money for specific causes, things may go a little bit differently when it comes to spending…. If the government spent every dime it took for some previously announced cause, there would be no problems about VAT refund to exporters. Funds raised for a certain cause may be used for something else entirely because of the public sector’s insatiable appetite for spending.

So, maybe we should ask “Why didn’t you spend our money for its intended purpose?” instead of asking “Where is our money?”