The guidelines on the provision of financial assistance up to MVR 150,000 from Zakat Fund for poor families under the Zakat Nafaa Program has been publicized on Sunday.
Zakat Nafaa Program was launched this February, by the Islamic Ministry in collaboration with Economic Ministry which is aimed to provide financial support for the poor.
The program is designed to provide financial assistance to a selected group of people, under a particular set of guidelines, through the Zakat Fund.
The guidelines regarding the program were publicized on Sunday at a press conference held by the Islamic Ministry.
In this regard, the guideline states that MVR 150,000 is the highest amount that can be provided as financial support from the Zakat Fund to each family considered poor.
The guideline also states that loans up to a certain amount can be facilitated for such families through the SME fund, at zero interest, with a repayment plan.
Financial assistance will be provided under Zakat Nafaa Program for individuals registered in Islamic Ministry as poor.
Apart from this, the guidelines also specify how the budget for the program shall be formulated and the responsibilities of participants to the program. This includes management, vetting, and funding procedures along with details of the phases under which the program will be implemented.
Islamic Ministry is to act as the ‘implementing agency’ of the program, that will spearhead the planning and implementation of the program.
The Ministry will be required to form a nine-member steering committee for the implementation of the program which shall include three representatives from the Islamic Ministry, two representatives from the Economic Ministry, one representative from Business Centre Corporation, one member from SME Development Finance Corporation, one member from Business Center Corporation and one member from Agro National Corporation.
Chairperson, and the vice chairperson of the committee will be appointed by Islamic Ministry, following discussions with the Economic Ministry.
Areas in which financial assistance will be provided under the Zakat Nafaa Program include housing, poultry farming, hydroponic farming, reef fishing, tailoring, and training, on-the-job training, or apprenticeships.
The guidelines publicized today state that the steering committee will have the discretion to include more areas based on the circumstances. However, these funding areas must be legitimate businesses under the eyes of Islamic shariah.
Speaking at the press conference, Islamic Minister Dr. Ahmed Zahir Ali said that more should be done for the poor than giving away Zakat money once a year.
“There are over 7.000 people registered as poor at present. The purpose of this program is to slash down this list to zero persons. To empower them to become financially independent,” he had said.
Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail who also spoke at the press conference said that it has been a long time since both ministries have initiated discussions regarding ways to financially empower poor people – in ensuring more respect and stature for them.
“Am very happy to take part in such an initiative. Our aim is to pave the way for a better life for the people listed as poor, and to guarantee their financial independence,” he had said.
Both Islamic Ministry and Economic Ministry state that they hope everyone registered as poor are benefitted to an extent through the program.