The city of Bengkulu was visited recently as part of Filantropi Indonesia’s Socialization Program of SDGs. The National Amil Zakat Agency served as FI’s partner for this particular event. The event, held on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, presented the specific theme of how zakat can play an instrumental role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The vice chairman of Baznas Bengkulu argued that the zakat issued by muzakki can be a means of contributing to philanthropic activities aimed at reducing poverty. He expressed his hope that a clear zakat regulation specific to individual provinces and districts can be established. The current distributions of zakat that has been conducted by Baznas Bengkulu have gone towards purposes ranging from groceries to BPJS support.
Meanwhile Bappeda representative, Mgs Rizqi Al Fadli, ensuring that the implementation of SDGs aligns with regional development goals and support national development in cities such as Bengkulu. She continued that the SDGs are in line with the 5 Priorities of Regional Development and Nawacita. While the average economic growth in Bengkulu is generally quite high, such high growth has not been able to significantly reduce poverty or unemployment rates. This shows that the relationship between economic growth and unemployment and poverty levels is not directly related as generally assumed.
Hamid Abidin, Executive Director of Philanthropy Indonesia (FI) explained that partnerships are needed to optimize the role and contribution of zakat in supporting national development through the achievement of SDGs. FI and Baznas have initiated the Zakat on SDGs program which will be expanded by involving LAZNAS and its partners.
Finally, Asnaini, a lecturer of FEBI IAIN Bengkulu, described some of the difficulties of zakat management in Bengkulu. These included low institutional acceptance, low trust of institutions, provision of small sums of mustahik, lack of government support, lack of coordination, knowledge or awareness of zakat kurat, low institutional interest, and low amil productivity. Consequently, the collection and implementation of zakat towards achieving the SDGs requires reconsideration to ensure it is being conducted correctly.