ISLAMABAD - Federal Finance Minister Dr Abudl Hafeez Sheikh has briefed Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on the decisions of the National Economic Council and the government decision to give maximum relief to the masses in the next budget, which would likely to be tabled before the National Assembly on June 1.

In a meeting at the Prime Minister House on Sunday, the Federal Finance Minister and the Premier expressed satisfaction over the finance bill outlines and hoped that the budget would go well with the masses.

The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction that the coming year’s federal development budget will be increased from Rs 300 billion to Rs 360 billion, which would be used for regionally balanced development and completion of projects especially in the areas of energy, infrastructure and food security.

For the coming budget, it was decided that it should be focused on ensuring macro-economic stability, growth, utilisation of resources, protection of vulnerable groups, incentives for private sector development and relief to the public while ensuring fiscal balance.

The Finance Minister briefed the Prime Minister on the state of economy, the preparation of the budget and other related matters.

The Finance Minister apprised the Prime Minister that the economic growth in the country would be 3.7 per cent this year, continuing an upward 10 of the last three years. Similarly, the rate of inflation would be declining for the third year in row, the Minister added.

Dr Hafeez Shaikh further briefed the Prime Minister that the tax collection in the first 10 months has increased by about 24 per cent as compared to the corresponding period representing a major step towards reduction of dependence on the outside world.