Fridaytime, April 082022 / 11:00AM / by Bukola Akinyele-Yisau for WebTV/Header image credit: EcoGraphic
As Nigerians navigate the country’s challenging socio-economic indicators, especially during the 2022 Ramadan season, interest-free financial institutions (NIFIs) and major Islamic NGOs have called for increased support to Muslim households.
Dr. Aliyu Dahiru, alexecutor to Bayero Universityy, Kano & Secretary, Association of Zakat and Waqf Operators in Nigeria (AZAWON), made the point during his speech on “Ramadan 2022: Addressing Nigeria’s Rising Cost of Living.”
He said it was time for Islamic NGOs to be more organized and deploy social finance to support millions of Muslims in the country throughout the Ramadan period.
He said NIFI should seize the opportunity and connect with people in this Ramadan season to support the poor, needy, orphans, widows and many other less privileged in society.
According to him, the NIFIs have the financial capacity as the private sector uses their foundations as non-Sharia compliant revenue, which they cannot deploy as part of their revenue, to help the needy using different channels during the period and the mechanisms of Ramadan.
Following the rise in global inflation during the 2022 Ramadan season, Dr Dahiru said this is of considerable concern to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, as fasting Muslims have to pay more for fruits and food needed to break their fast.
According to him, food should be affordable so that Muslims can perform Sahoor and Iftar without having to bear the burden of escalating food costs. He said inflation during the Ramadan period would affect the majority of Muslims, whose purchasing power was affected by headline inflation of 15.7% and food inflation of over 17%.
He called for socio-economic policies that would tackle the impact of inflation on the cost of living in the country. He identified the fuel price increase and the initial artificial scarcity caused by the importation of adulterated fuel into the country several months ago. The cost he noted was transferred to transportation tariffs, which inflicted suffering on the masses.
The researcher charged the government with the need to make petroleum products available in the country, with the political will to combat the growing black market.
Apart from the provision of petroleum products, he said the government should investigate the foreign exchange policy to improve the lot of the citizens.
“They must investigate the foreign exchange regime operating in Nigeria for the benefit of the country. Many people are suffering because of these policies. The FG must review the foreign exchange policy.”
He warned businesses and market vendors who take advantage of Ramadan to raise the price of food and services to refrain from such acts which are prohibited by Islam.
“Hoarding should be prohibited, and the government should be serious in its management, not allowing innocent people to suffer. As citizens, we should be patriotic as a nation.”
Dahiru urged wealthy Muslims to support the poor with food to help them break their fast. He advised everyone to be moderate and more generous, while scholars should preach and encourage people to do good.
Regarding Russian aggression in Ukraine, he said that one of the major problems of war in the world is that it destroys lives, brings hardship and accelerates economic crisis.
The economic impact would affect the supply chain for goods and services in Nigeria and stall major projects like the Ajaokuta steel complex involving a Russian company.
“Ramadan is the time when people should always support each other, especially in times of socio-economic crisis. Those with resources should continue to give, while those with fewer resources should also give in the measure of their abilities.
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