Islamabad - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday directed all the concerned departments and officials of the Ministry of Finance to complete their preparations for the budget 2015-16 and also actively coordinate with other ministries in this regard.

The Minister has given instructions for convening a budget review meeting next week soon after his return from Dubai where he is currently attending the IMF talks for the 7th review. The meeting apart from reviewing the progress of various departments shall also finalise the schedule of activities with regard to budget 2015-16. Key features and outline of the budget is expected to be discussed in the meeting which would have a final look at the implementation status of 2014-15 budget initiatives.

In a brief chat with media here in Dubai, the Minister also reflected upon his participation in ADB’s 48th Annual Board of Governors Meeting at Baku saying the ADB President and other officials reaffirmed ADB’s continued support for development projects in Pakistan. They also acknowledged Pakistan’s remarkable economic turnaround under the present government.

The Minister said his meetings with the Azeri Foreign Minister, Finance Minister and parliamentarians were very fruitful as there was agreement on a broad range of activities to enhance cooperation, particularly in the realm of bilateral trade.  The Minister said taking part in the ADB Governors Plenary on “Opportunities and Challenges for Livable Asian Cities”, proved very interesting as participants put forth useful proposals that he would share with senior officials engaged with urban development and town planning back home. The main thrust of the participants was upon good governance and management at local government level and application of modern technology for services provision.

The Finance Minister specially referred to his meeting with the Nepalese Finance Minister who he said expressed heartfelt gratitude over Pakistan’s exemplary support for relief activities in quake hit Nepal.

When asked to comment on the Standard and Poor’s latest report on Pakistan, the Minister said Standard and Poor’s was among the world’s big three credit-rating agencies and their new rating for Pakistan was indeed acknowledgement of the fact that Pakistan had made significant progress in stabilising its economy.

Dar said S&P had noted that strong capital inflows and remittances and lower oil prices, which support business confidence and investment spending, had strengthened the Pakistani economy. He said S&P had actually acknowledges that Pakistan’s fiscal performance exceeded their expectations for 2014. It further noted that Pakistan’s banking system remained sound, reflecting its high profitability and strong capitalisation.

The Minister is scheduled to return home later this Sunday to take up a schedule of meetings including those related to budget preparation, starting from Monday morning.