Jakarta (ANTARA) - Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said on Sunday that as of 2023, 2,067 pesantrens or Islamic boarding schools have benefited from the ministry's Pesantren Independence business incubation program.

"There have been a total of 2,067 beneficiaries. This is a form of government's attention for pesantrens," Qoumas said in a statement released on Sunday.

During the Conference of Pesantren Independence Improvement held in Jakarta on Saturday (December 16), he said that the program is mandated by Law Number 18 of 2019 on Pesantren.

Pesantren Independence, which was launched in 2021, is one of the ministry's priority programs, he added.

To support the program, the ministry has launched the Pesantrenpreneur program and issued the Pesantren Independence Road Map (PJKP).

Qoumas said that his ministry is targeting the number of pesantrens that become beneficiaries of the business incubation program to reach 5,000 by 2024.

"President Jokowi (Joko Widodo) has instructed me that by 2024, there will be at least 5,000 pesantrens supported to achieve independence," he remarked.

He added that the business incubation program covers all aspects of business, starting from selecting the type of business to the target market.

The program is designed to be accessible equally by all pesantrens that are in need.

The program is carried out based on the needs of pesantrens considering both business potential and regional conditions as a form of collaboration among stakeholders.

"This program is open and accountable in nature. Thus, every process and result can be accounted for," he stated.

Director General of Islamic Education at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, M. Ali Ramdhani, stated that many pesantrens have improved their independence by developing businesses in various fields.

He expounded that 832 pesantrens established shops, minimarkets, and cooperatives. There are also 169 laundries, 56 food and beverage businesses, 34 digital printing companies, and an array of other businesses run by pesantrens.

"From 2021 to 2023, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has allocated a budget totalling Rp300 billion (around US$19.32 million) to encourage the economic independence of thousands of pesantrens," he remarked.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Raka Adji
Editor: Anton Santoso
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