Renowned NRI businessman MA Yusufali has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the UAE government’s Zakat Fund. The decision to appoint Yusufali at the top post was taken by the UAE Federal Government, thus making him the first Indian to decorate the position. The tenure is for three years.

The appointment of Mr Yusufali will be highly helpful for the functioning of the Zakat Fund, said Board Chairman and Minister of Justice Dr Hadif bin Juvan al Dahiri, according to reports. Eleven renowned UAE citizens have also been included in the Director Board. The Zakat Fund was launched by the UAE government in 2004 to spread the importance of the Zakat in the society and thus to strengthen human values and relations. The government reportedly allots lakhs of UAE Dirhams annually for it.

Mr MA Yusufali is the MD of the Emke Group based in Abu Dhabi which has diversified itself into several areas such shopping malls, super markets, department stores etc. The business empire of this Keralite hailing from Thrissur is spread over 29 countries in Asia and Africa, the major share being in the Gulf countries. His company is building the biggest shopping mall and convention centre in India which will reportedly be opened in Kochi in 2012.

He has recently been in news for his successful role as the mediator between the Kerala Government and the TeeCom Group in connection with the famous Smart City project in the state. The Smart City project came up during the time of the last government in 2003 but several controversies including the difference of opinion in certain conditions and the global economic crisis created fears in the realization of the dream project in Kochi. However, the final deal was signed last month and Mr Yusufali’s contributions as the mediator were highly appreciated.

Yusufali was awarded the coveted Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2008 for his contributions to commerce and industry as well as his services in the social work. He is also the recipient of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (2005), the highest award of the Indian government to the Non-Resident Indians. He is the first Asian to be a member of the Director Board of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industries, when he won an election to it in 2005. He was again elected to the body in 2009. He is also serving in a number of posts such as member of the Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians and member of the Board of Directors of the Air India.

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