The Ministry of Islamic Affairs for the first time compiled a distribution policy for the dates annually donated to the Maldives by Saudi Arabia ahead of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The new policy states that one packet of dates must be presented to each household. Meanwhile, the city and island councils are mandated to prepare the lists of registered households.
Moreover, the ministry’s policy stresses that the distribution, following a public announcement, must be carried out via institutions determined by the Islamic Ministry only. The dates cannot be distributed under the name of any entity other than the government.
This policy comes in the wake of heavy public criticism last year, which arose when the Sadaqat Foundation distributed 500 boxes of dates from the 50 tons donated by Saudi Arabia to the Maldives’ government. The dates were distributed via the presidential palace which had led to claims of graft involved. However, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) declared after its probe that there had not been any corruption in the distribution.
Saudi Arabia has donated 50 tons of dates to the Maldives this year as well.
The government commenced distribution of the dates on Thursday. The Islamic Ministry stated that the dates will be issued to the councils from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on all working days.