Parliament approves to fund 80% of Hajj pilgrimage cost from Pension Fund

The parliament has approved the amendment to the Pension Act which allows 80% of Hajj Pilgrimage costs to be funded from pension savings for scheme members.

The amendment proposed by Kendhikulhudhoo MP Ahmed Easa was approved during Wednesday's parliament sitting with the unanimous vote of all 70 lawmakers who took part in the vote.

The parliament Committee on Social Affairs researched the bill prior to approval but did not bring any changes to it. However, the committee added some recommendations on the bill.

The committee report recommended to establish a voluntary scheme for members of the retirement pension scheme to deposit the funds needed for the pilgrimage. The report further said 80% of pilgrimage expense can be funded from the pension fund only if a balance of MVR 420,000 is available in the fund. Over 36,000 people are eligible under these conditions.

It is a presidential pledge of President Solih to allow pension funds to be utilized for funding the hajj pilgrimage of scheme members. The parliament previously amended the Pension Act to allow 50% of pilgrimage costs to be covered under the pension fund, which has now been revised to 80%.