The Committee gave the following answer:
The Council of Senior Scholars (Part No. 13; Page No. 414) has already discussed a similar topic and issued a unanimous decision no. 66 of 7/2/1400 AH, in which it said:The Council has read the letter submitted to his Eminence Chairman of the Departments of Scholarly Research, Ifta', Da`wah, and Guidance by owners of industrial projects in relation to
the Saudi Industrial Development Fund charging people for 2% of the loan they take out as the service fees. The Council has also read the reply of His Excellency, the Minister of Finance no. 3178/98 dated 29/6/1398 A.H. To His Excellency the chief of the Council of Ministers' Court explaining that the fees collected by the Fund are not interests on loans but a small return for the efforts of technical experts in studying the technical and financial aspects of the industrial project, counseling, and the like, which benefit the project owner and promote the project. All of this costs the Fund a great deal of money. The Council has also read section (d) of the second article in the contract - whose copy is attached to the letter - between the Fund and owners of industrial projects which states that according to this contract, the borrower agrees to pay the Fund - without any coercion - the fee of the loan which is about 2% of the loan each year. (Part No. 13; Page No. 415) This fee is taken from the unpaid value of each loan.After studying the matter, discussing and exchanging views on it, the Council reached this decision approved by the majority:
These fees are frank Riba (usury), since they are paid in return for the loan given by the Fund to the project owner, as stated in section (d) of the second article of the contract between the two parties. If these fees are paid in return for the efforts of technical experts they will vary according to the technical and financial troubles of each project. In addition, these fees must gradually decrease in accordance with the amount repaid of the loan.
If those in charge of the Fund are able to evaluate the technical efforts and the technical and financial troubles they carry out for the welfare of project, the Saudi Development Fund has the right to charge for the costs of these studies or part of them but if the Fund gives them up to facilitate things for the project owner, this is better.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his Family, and Companions.