80% of Hajj pilgrimage cost to be covered under pension fund

The parliament has approved the bill proposing to increase the percentage of pension funds that can be utilized to fund the Hajj pilgrimage to 80% of the cost.

The amendment to the Pension Act was submitted by Kendhikolhudhoo MP Ahmed Eesa on behalf of the government. The bill proposed to amend Article number 38 of the Pension Act to allow 80% of the hajj pilgrimage cost to be covered by pension savings.

The bill was approved with all 67 members present at the parliament voting in favor of the bill. Due to a technical error, the vote could not be conducted electronically, and was taken through a roll call.

Debating on the bill prior to the vote, majority of members expressed their support to increase the percentage of funds, with several members proposing to increase the percentage to 100% to cover the full of the cost pilgrimage.

It was a pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to amend the Pension Act to allow pension savings to be utilized to fund hajj pilgrimage within the first 100 days of administration. The law was amended accordingly during the period, however, it was approved such that only 50% of the pilgrimage cost can be covered through pension savings.

The amendment also requires the account holder's pension savings balance to exceed MVR 336,000. Pension Office has revealed that currently, only about 6000 people meet the requirement for this condition.

The Hajj pilgrimage to the Holy House Ka'ba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia is one of the five pillars of Islam.