By Dr. Lujja Sulaiman
Islam is founded on five pillars, Hijja being the fifth. Every Muslim who is physically, mentally and financially capable is required to fulfil Hijja obligation at least once in his/her lifetime. Due to the importance of this pillar, Allah called every Muslim to visit His house even if it means walking by foot to the Holy land of Mecca;
“And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj)” Surah Al-Haj [22:27].
Islamic Banking Implementation at Tropical Bank Limited
It is true the implementation of Islamic Banking System in Uganda and at Tropical Bank in particular has delayed although the enabling legal environment has been paved by government. Tropical Bank submitted its application for Islamic banking license to the Bank of Uganda which is still under review.
One may wonder why other local and international banks are still reluctant to penetrate this new market.
The delay in implementation of Islamic Banking might be a blessing in disguise since the Ugandan unique market needs to initially be sensitized and piloted with some Shari’ah-compliant products to determine the most appropriate Islamic products for both customers and banks.
Operation of Tropi-Hijja Account
Tropical Bank has categorized the Hijja product into three services namely; (i) Depository savings services, (ii) Fund management services, and (iii) Hijja operations services. As a financial intermediary, Tropical Bank shall undertake Depository savings services and Fund management services. The bank shall leave Hijja operations management to other stakeholders who are directly involved in the Hijja line of business. Therefore, a depositor shall chose to travel with any stakeholder.
Tropi-Hijja Account is operated as an interest-free account in both Uganda Shillings and US Dollars. It gives access to Tropical HijjApp that shall allow customers track their deposits and tenor. The account has four categories; individual, Child, joint and group. Customers can withdraw money from their accounts at any time.
The underlying Shari’ah contract between Bank and customer is Wadiah Yad Dhamanah (safe custody with guarantee of Principal deposit) where subject to the agreed terms, the Bank guarantees payment of the deposited money upon demand by the account holder and incentives are paid at the bank discretion.
Tropi-Hijja Accounts shall be immediately migrated to our Islamic Banking Window as soon as Islamic banking license is secured.
Benefits of Tropi-Hijja Account
The bank shall use the accumulated savings in a Shari’ah compliant strategy to get customers closer to their goal of performing Hijja and Umrah more quickly than through a regular savings system.
The bank will reward its customers with attractive and competitive interest-free returns such as reduction in duration of Hijja and Umrah fulfilment, free air ticket through Tropical bank airfare draw, free hotel reservation, free insurance, and other incentives.
Uganda’s Pilgrims will begin to save for their Hajj and Umrah obligations over a planned period than having to sell off their properties, take up interest-bearing loans from commercial banks, keeping Hijja savings under the pillow for fear of riba (interest), and having ample period of up to ten (10) years to save for Hijja.
Tropi-Hijja Account Opening Requirements:
– National ID/Passport/Driving Permit/Work Permit.
– 2 Passport Photos.
– Initial Deposit of UGX. 10,000 or USD. 20 for Dollar Account.
Joint/Group/Association/Company/Hijja & Umrah Agent
– National ID of each signatory.
– 2 Passport Photos of Each Signatory.
– Initial Deposit of UGX. 100,000 or USD. 100 for Dollar Account
Dr. Lujja Sulaiman is the Manager Islamic Banking Tropical Bank Limited