Hajj Fund to Be Tapped For In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment

Indonesia Expat - - BUSINESS TRENDS -

In­done­sia’s hajj fund, a pool of cash used to fund the Mus­lim pil­grim­age to Saudi Ara­bia, is of­ten pointed to as the so­lu­tion to fund­ing woes, with Pres­i­dent Joko ‘Jokowi’ Wi­dodo now mulling plans to tap the fund. Jokowi made the com­ments Mon­day, Au­gust 7, say­ing the Rp. 50 tril­lion (US$3.9 bil­lion) would be bet­ter uti­lized in fi­nanc­ing sea ports, roads, air­ports and palm plan­ta­tions than sit­ting in bank de­posits. “If we in­vest, say, 90 per­cent of the [hajj] funds on in­fra­struc­ture, surely this would also be more prof­itable than stor­ing the funds in banks,” Jokowi said at the Pres­i­den­tial Palace on Mon­day dur­ing a meet­ing with the Re­li­gious Af­fairs Min­istry Direc­tory Gen­eral for the Hajj Ab­dul Jamil. The fund is man­aged by the Re­li­gious Af­fairs Min­istry and in­cludes up­front or monthly in­stal­ments made by Mus­lims un­der­tak­ing the hajj pil­grim. Saudi Ara­bia con­trols the holy site of Mecca, with each coun­try granted an an­nual quota. In­done­sia is cur­rently al­lo­cated 200,000 vis­its a year, which has seen the wait­ing list bal­loon to 18 years.

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