Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) paid Rp55 million of income-based alms (zakat mal), or a rise of Rp5 million from last year, paid in cash through the National Alms Agency (Baznas).

President Jokowi paid the amount during the handover of zakat to the 2019 Baznas at the Jakarta State Palace on Thursday.

"Thank God, the collection and distribution of zakat by Baznas, started since 2016 at the palace, has been running regularly, and this can serve as a pillar to strengthen Islamic finance," Jokowi emphasized.

High-ranking officials in ministries and institutions as well as directors of state-owned companies (BUMN were present at the occasion.

Baznas had deployed several officers or readied counters at the Presidential Palace to serve zakat payments in collaboration with Islamic banking that can be done through cash or non-cash means.

During that time, he remarked that the high zakat potential in Indonesia could be maximized.

The president noted that Baznas reported Indonesia's zakat potential reaching Rp232 trillion, while only Rp18 trillion was received by Baznas.

"This indicates that vast potential still exists. We also truly laud the growth in the past five years averaging 2.64 (percent). This is a huge growth, and we are optimistic of a leap in the collection and distribution of zakat in our country," he stated.

Jokowi highlighted the significance of zakat for its role in driving economic growth, reducing poverty, improving the people's welfare, and encouraging Indonesia to become the hub of the world sharia economy.

"I invite the muzakki to offer zakat through Baznas to ensure greater safety and order, and it is truly appropriate for distribution to mustahik," he added.

In future, President Jokowi is optimistic of the collection and distribution of zakat being more integrated with a digital system and the database for zakat can be better managed for streamlining the distribution.

"The religion minister, is it time to prepare a presidential regulation for the ASN? It depends on the religion minister if it is deemed necessary to push it to my table," Jokowi stated.

Translator: Eliswan Azly
Editor: Suharto
Copyright © ANTARA 2019