President Abdulla Yameen last night officially inaugurated the Maldives Hajj Corporation, with Islamic minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed pledging to reduce the cost of the pilgrimage.
Shaheem told those in attendance at the ceremony held at Hotel Jen yesterday evening that MVR110 million (US$7.1 million) had been deposited with the corporation so far, noting that government had become more involved in the Hajj trips after the activities of some unscrupulous companies.
The state-owned Hajj Corporation was established during the presidency of Dr Mohamed Waheed in 2013, after legal wrangling over whether the Islamic Ministry should be forced to reevaluate several unsuccessful bids by private Hajj groups.
Of the 1,000 pilgrim quota afforded to the Maldives by Saudi Arabia last year, 500 were reserved by the Hajj Corporation while the rest were divided amongst Hajj groups chosen after a bidding process.
Sun Online has reported that the corporation’s quota is now filled until 2017.