MVR 69.3M spent by state for Hajj last year

Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Ahmed Zahir Ali Speaking at Ahmadhiyya International School’s Secondary Prize Day 2022. (Sun photo / Mohamed Hayyan)

Ministry of Islamic Affairs has stated that the state spent MVR 69.3 million on the Hajj pilgrimage last year.

Central Maafannu MP Ibrahim Rasheed (Bonde) requested the details of state expenditure on Hajj pilgrimage last year including individual expenses for per piligrim. 

The written response from Islamic Minister Dr. Ahmed Zahir Ali was read aloud in today’s parliamentary sitting.

A total of MVR 69.3 million was spent on the Hajj pilgrimage last year - which is MVR 166,198.03 per pilgrim. Maldives Hajj Corporation was the only group that traveled to Saudi Arabia last year for the purpose. 

Details of the expenditure:

  • Airline tickets – MVR 9.9 million
  • Food and drink expenses – MVR 875,450.86
  • The stay at Mecca – MVR 39.6 million
  • The stay at Medina – MVR 1.81 million 
  • Guide expenses – MVR 10.65 million
  • Miscellaneous expenses – MVR 6,301,757.83
  • Administrative expenses – MVR 98,014.63
  • Total expenses – MVR 69.3 million

Bonde, underscoring independent Hajj groups did not incur that high expenses for Hajj pilgrimage, stressed he did not understand why such an amount was incurred by the Hajj Corporation. 

He further said that despite the establishment of a Hajj mission and sending people from Male' in order to help the pilgrims after huge expenses - pilgrims do not receive any help from the mission. Bonde said they only get help from employees in Maldivian Embassy in Saudi Arabia who perform Hajj. Therewith, he questions the Minister on why the mission has failed to assist pilgrims. 

In response - the Islamic Minister said that the Hajj mission provides the pilgrims with many services on every trip.

He highlighted that the mission helps pilgrims with problems they may face at the airport, traveling to Mecca, searching for pilgrims should they get go missing, and holding a funeral and burying a pilgrim if they die during the trip at the earliest, among many other things.

“And so, I say that the speculation that the pilgrims and groups do not receive help from the Hajj mission and only receive help from the embassy is false,” the Minister said.