Nigerian govt saves N75b by terminating dollar concession in hajj operations – NAHCON

NAHCON chairman, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar
NAHCON chairman, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, said on Tuesday that the discontinuation of dollar concession by President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government had saved the nation N75 billion.

The Head, Public Affairs Division of NAHCON, Fatima Usara, made the disclosure during a media parley at the commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.

According to her, the aim of the interactive session is to highlight the achievements of NAHCON under the change administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Mrs Usara revealed that the abolition of Federal Government Hajj sponsorship by President Buhari administration had enabled the country to be saving N1.6 billion annually since 2015.

She said that in 2017, NAHCON, with the support of the federal government, introduced direct accommodation negations with hotel owners in Madina and Makkah, thereby, eliminating agents and saved over 14 million US dollars.

The head of public affairs division also said in 2018, N229 million was saved through querying of local fees imposed on pilgrims by the various State Pilgrims Welfare Boards, Agencies and Commissions.

She said as part of efforts to curtail fraud in the payment of Hadaya (Ram Sacrifice), Jaiz Bank in conjunction with Islamic Development Bank was designated to collect money and executes Hadaya for pilgrims.

“This has prevent pilgrims from being defrauded of N1.6 billion annually,“ Usara said.

She said that the anti-corruption crusade of Mr Buhari had provided solid ground for the Executive Chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Muhammad, to sanitise the management of Hajj and Umrah in the country.

Similarly, Mrs Usara said that the commission had curbed the proliferation of unregistered Tour Operators by issuing licensed to authentic operators and instituted legal actions against defaulting ones and shutdown some.

“All these achievements were recorded in NAHCON under President Buhari because of his political will and support to the leadership of the commission.

“President Buhari gave NAHCON Boss go ahead to reform and sanitise the management of Hajj and Umrah and to the glory of Allah Nigeria is now rated among countries that are doing well in Hajj management in the world.

“This has help the commission to curb waste and acquired Metro Plaza at the cost of N2.4 billion, only N587 million came as government contribution in form of Capital Project, “ Usara said.

The Commissioner of Operations Inspectorate and Licensing, Abdullahi Modibbo, said the commission was working assiduously to curb all forms of fraud associated with the registration of intending pilgrims.

Mr Modibbo warned state pilgrims boards against collecting more than N500 for hajj registration form and advised intending pilgrims not to pay above approved cost by the commission.