ISLAMABAD -  Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has said that next budget would be finalised by keeping in view the primary aim of achieving higher, sustainable and inclusive economic growth .

The minister said that the Pakistan Muslim League-N government would accord top priority to the well-being of the people in the budget for FY 2017-18. He further said that the budget would also focus on specific measures for further improving ease of doing business and increasing financial inclusion in the country.

He made these remarks while chairing a high-level meeting to review progress of preparations for the upcoming budget for FY 2017-18. Finance Secretary Tariq Bajwa provided an update to the minister on the state of preparations for the budget and coordination with different ministries and departments in this regard. He said that as desired by the finance minister, all stakeholders including economic experts, chambers of commerce and industries, business and traders community etc, would be taken on board while finalising the budget. He said a proper mechanism for in-depth liaison with these stakeholders had already been devised. He said all budget activities would be undertaken according to the timelines given in the schedule shared with the finance minister in the previous meeting.

Meanwhile, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafarul Haq Hijazi called on Dar. The SECP chairman thanked the minister for his leadership and personal role in the formulation and the passage of the Companies Bill, 2017 from the National Assembly. The SECP chairman briefed the minister on various operational matters related to the SECP. He apprised the minister of the efforts being undertaken for the development and smooth functioning of the capital market.

Dar acknowledged the contribution of the SECP chairman in the formulation of the Companies Bill, 2017. He expressed satisfaction at the recent passage of the Bill from the National Assembly. He asked SECP to brief and fully cooperate with the Senate Standing Committee on Finance regarding the Bill, just as SECP had facilitated the National Assembly Standing Committee. He said that the 33-year old Companies Ordinance 1984 required revamping in order to provide a modern legislative framework to the corporate sector of Pakistan, which addresses the needs of the corporate sector. He said that the Bill has been developed after extensive consultations and inputs from all stakeholders.

The minister also said that the present government fully supports SECP’s efforts for facilitation and effective regulation of capital markets. He urged the SECP to take all necessary measures to ensure that the corporate sector and capital markets of the country realise their full potential through adoption of international best practices. He said that this would enable the country to achieve higher, inclusive and sustainable economic growth , which is the main aim of the present government after having achieved macroeconomic stability.