Maldives Pension Administration Office (MPAO) revealed that 13 individuals withdrew from their pension funds to pay for their cost of pilgrimage this year.
Allowing withdrawal of pension funds to pay for the cost of pilgrimage was one of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's presidential pledges. Amendments were brought to the Pension Act through Parliament to allow for the fulfillment of this pledge.
The first amendment brought to the Pension Act allowed the withdrawal of 50 percent of the total cost of pilgrimage, as decided by the government.
However, last Wednesday, the parliament passed to raise the percentage to 80. President Solih ratified this amendment on Monday.
Due to this amendment, pilgrims can withdraw 80 percent of their total Hajj cost from the pension fund from next year onwards.
Individuals withdrawing money from their pension fund must have at least MVR 336,000 in their Retirement Savings Account, since this is the least amount required to pay a monthly pension of MVR 2000 when the individual reaches pension-receiving age.
According to MPAO there are a total of 6000 individuals who fit the criteria to withdraw pension funds.
A spokesperson by the establishment confirmed that 13 of those individuals have withdrawn funds this way to pay for this year's pilgrimage.