President John Dramani Mahama has suggested to the Hajj Management Board, to consider a one per cent levy on Hajj fares from prospective pilgrimages for the Zakat and Sadaqat Fund established by the Muslim community.
He said that would help to provide additional resources to empower the poor and the needy to contribute to the economic development of the country.
The President said this in a speech read for him by the Minister of State in Charge of Public-Private Participation, Dr Rashid Pelpuo, at the annual gathering of the Muslim community in Accra, on Thursday.
It was organised by The Muslim Caucus in Parliament under the theme “Peace, unity and tolerance: The roadmap to a prosperous nation,” to seek Allah’s blessings of peace and prosperity of the country.
It was also to give annual account of the Zakat and Sadaqat Fund, established at the initiative of the Muslim Caucus in Parliament, to encourage Muslims to fulfil their religious obligation (payment of Zakat as a pillar of Islam), to cater for the needy.
Zakat is one of the Pillars of Islam that requires Muslims to pay a percentage of their wealth into a fund to cater for the deprived , and the Muslim Caucus in Parliament are spearheading efforts to formalise its collection and disbursement to the needy in the country.
Touching on other areas, President Mahama praised the peaceful co-existence of Muslims and other members of religious bodies in the country and urged them to pray for peaceful elections.
He said democracy was not about only electing people, but ensuring that those elected reflected the diversity of thought and tolerance of the people as a united people with common destiny.
President Mahama said “in spite of our differences, we continue to live together as one people” and urged Ghanaians to continue to hold high the flag of Ghana among the comity of nations.
He assured that the government would continue to support the Muslim community in the organisation of a smooth Hajj.
The Chief Executive of the Zakat and Sadaqat Fund, Sheikh Shaibu Armiyawo, urged the Muslim community to continue to pay the Zakat as a religious necessity and social obligation to cater for the deprived.
He said the management of the fund had invested in projects in the health, education and economic empowerment of the needy and praised Muslims in the Ghana Police Service, for their high subscription to the fund.
Sheikh Armiyawo, who is the Greater Accra Regional Manager of the Islamic Education Unit urged Muslims within and beyond to consider the Zakat and Sadaqat Fund, as a credible institution for payment of both their corporate and individual responsibility.
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman