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Zakat collection rises, but management still in disarray

Two-day Zakat Fair begins in the capital
Staff Correspondent
12 Mar 2023 00:00:00 | Update: 12 Mar 2023 00:39:37
Zakat collection rises, but management still in disarray
CZM Chairman Niaz Rahim speaks at the opening session of Zakat Fair in Dhaka on Saturday – Courtesy Photo

Speakers at a programme on Saturday said that the aggregate potential of Zakat in Bangladesh has been increased over the years, but its management and distribution still remain a concern.

They made the observations at the inaugural session of a two-day Zakat Fair that started in the capital’s Tejgaon area on Saturday morning.

Eminent economist Prof Dr Wahiduddin Mahmud, Chairman of Economic Research Group, inaugurated the fair organised by Centre for Zakat Management (CZM).

The fair started with the theme of ‘Making a Difference with Zakat’ to motivate the people to give their Zakat in an organised manner, clarify various issues on Zakat, and share experience of various organisations working with Zakat funds for poverty alleviation. This is the 11th version of Zakat Fair.

Dr Wahiduddin said that the amount of Zakat is increasing over the years and with proper management, it can be a very useful tool for sustainable development of the society.

“Zakat could be a very viable source to finance the social safety-net programme for the poor and the needy. We must consider it in our policymaking,” he opined.

While presenting a keynote paper at the inaugural session, Dr Md Abdul Mazid, former chairman of National Board of Revenue (NBR), highlighted how CZM can help individuals and corporate people managing zakat for wellbeing and how it is benefiting the poorer people to get educated, improve their livelihood and avail of healthcare funded by Zakat donations.

As no government wing is working with the management, distribution gets worse, he said, adding that the government in collaboration with CZM can bring much better outcomes, ensuring proper use of Zakat.

Chairman of CZM Niaz Rahim, former Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen (retd) Nuruddin Khan, former adviser to the caretaker government Abdul Muyeed Chowdhury, academicians and ex-bureaucrats were also present.

According to an article titled ‘Estimating the potential of Zakat collection in Bangladesh using secondary sources’ by Prof M Kabir Hassan gave an estimation that the aggregate potential of Zakat in Bangladesh was $9,749 million in FY2018-19 which was only $809 million in FY2000-2001.

“Compared to the Zakat amount in FY2000-2001, the current amount of Zakat is 12 times higher. It is undoubtedly a positive indication of Zakat increment since it can help reduce the income disparity with economic growth,” the article reads.

The researcher, using secondary data from 2010 to 2020, calculated Zakat collection potential in Bangladesh and found that the potential was about Tk840 billion in 2022. It was Tk260 billion in 2008.

Earlier, the same researcher with his co-researcher Juanyed Masrur Khan in another study showed how Zakat can contribute to the Annual Development Programme (ADP) and help alleviate poverty and unemployment.

“While the government of Bangladesh has been very keen to alleviate poverty, it has never looked at the institution of Zakat as a national strategy for poverty alleviation,” he said.

“We have shown that Zakat funds can replace government budgetary expenditures in amounts ranging from 21 per cent of ADP in 1983/1984 to 43 per cent of ADP in 2004/2005. This amounts to Tk30.683 billion in 1983/1984 to Tk220 billion in 2004/2005.”

He also recommended that Zakat should be managed and distributed systematically to eliminate poverty and discrimination from the society.