ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday directed that proposals for budget 2016-17 should be formulated keeping in view government’s objective of higher growth, which will help generate more employment opportunities.

He made these remarks while chairing a meeting to review the progress on reforms related to sustainable and inclusive growth. Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood Khan briefed the meeting about the progress of ongoing reforms, especially measures taken to facilitate the deprived segments through the Income Support Program. He also briefed the meeting on proposed measures to be taken in the upcoming budget to enhance financial inclusion of people in the under served areas.

Finance minister said that by better fiscal management the government has brought down the budget deficit from 8.8% to around 4.3%. The tax net is being expanded and revenue growth has touched 19% this year. The international credit agencies have improved their ratings for Pakistan and we have come a long way on the road to macro-economic stability and now tread on the path to sustainable and inclusive growth. Finance minister also chaired a meeting to review budget proposals of the FBR. Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan was present on the occasion.

Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan informed the meeting that in line with finance minister’s instructions passed last week, the FBR officials have held meetings with different stakeholders including traders organizations, chambers of commerce and industries, professionals and experts, having discussion over budget proposals. Useful inputs have been sought from them and would be thoroughly perused before budget proposals are finalized, the meeting was apprised.

The finance minister expressed satisfaction over the state of revenue collection in the current fiscal year. The minister said that this spirit should be kept up in the coming fiscal year and efforts made for further growth in revenue which is key component of the overall inclusive growth strategy. He said that FBR should provide maximum facilitation to the taxpayers along with taking measures for simplification of procedures.