Gov’t Blames Rising Dollar, Inflation for Hajj Cost Hike
Jakarta. The government is putting the blame on the rising dollar and inflation for the hike in the proposed 2023 hajj costs which is double what pilgrims had to pay in 2022.
The Religious Affairs Ministry recently proposed that the average hajj costs per person would total Rp 98.89 million (about $6,604) this year.
A person would need to pay Rp 69.1 million to go on the annual Islamic pilgrimage, a significant jump from Rp 39.8 million in 2022.
The remaining Rp 29.7 million will come from the returns of the funds managed by the Hajj Fund Management Agency (BKPH).
“There are three things [causing the hike], namely inflation, dollar, and airfares,” Jaja Jaelani, the director for hajj fund management at the Religious Affairs Ministry, said in a forum over the weekend.
Jaja said that in 2022, the dollar was around Rp 14,000, but then had risen to Rp 15,000 this year. The fluctuating dollar then led to higher airfares.
But according to Jaja, the government is still reviewing this year’s hajj costs. The House of Representatives has yet to make its final decision on the costs, but will likely come to a conclusion next month.
“Probably around mid-February, but it is still under discussion,” Jaja said.
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The National Hajj Commission urged the House to get moving and decide on the 2023 hajj costs.
“If the House does not decide on the budget immediately, this would hold the Religious Affairs Ministry ‘hostage’,” the commission’s chief Mustolih Siradj told Beritasatu.com on Saturday.
By “being held hostage”, the Religious Affairs Ministry would not be able to finish the contracts related to hotel bookings, flight, and hajj employees’ operations, according to Mustolih.
The Indonesian United Party (Perindo) proposed that the government should split the hajj costs in half.
“Instead of 70-30, it should be 50-50. I think it would be fair if the pilgrim takes care of 50 percent of the hajj costs, while the rest comes from the returns [of the managed hajj funds] or subsidies by the organizer," Abdul Khaliq Ahmad, the head for religious affairs at the Perindo central executive board, said.Tags: