The Acting Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi is optimistic that the 2024 Hajj fare may not exceed the N4,500,000 (four million, five hundred thousand) currently required as minimum deposit to register for the 2024 Hajj. The amount was expected to rise after the final fare computation. However, the reverse may be the case. Following some measures the NAHCON Chairman and his team plan to introduce, the imminent rise in the Hajj fare may be a nightmare subdued.
There is presently no plan by the Commission to increase the Hajj fare from what was charged in the previous exercise, the anticipated increase is an inevitable outcome of current situation.
Recall that the cost of the 2023 Hajj in Dollars was $6,644.1 exchanged at the rate of N456 to a Dollar. Today, the same $6,644.1 at the exchange rate of N800 would amount to N5,315.352. This is what makes the hike predictable. Fortunately, Malam Jalal Arabi brought a proposition that would insulate the Hajj fare from escalating. And in consonance with the Tinubu administration, the proposals are being considered because they would serve as shock absorbers to the final cost of 2023 Hajj. This and other issues were discussed in BBC Hausa’s program “Gane mani Hanya” that will be aired on Saturday 25th November.
Organizing Hajj has never been easy. Even for a country as well resourced as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Hajj management is an overwhelming task which those who have attended can testify to. Similarly, the NAHCON Chairman, Malam Arabi is faced with undaunting tasks with varied expectations of him from the public as well as his principals. If there are things he would do differently, only time would tell. However, he disclosed some of his plans also in an interview with Malam Nasiru El-Hikaya on Voice of America. Extracts from the interview can be found on this link, https://www.voahausa.com/a/hukumar-alhazan-najeriya-ta-ce-maniyyata-su-tanadi-naira-miliyan-4-5/7366861.html.
With 2024 Hajj drawing nearer, NAHCON has continued to remind intending pilgrims that the deadline for the season’s pilgrimage preparations would end earlier than usual. This is because the host country has scheduled to close Hajj preparatory arrangements earlier to facilitate timely commencement of visa processing. Consequently, visa issuance would end earlier than it used to be as well. Towards this end, the Hajj Commission set December 31st as deadline for remittance of N4.5 million Hajj fare deposit to allow it collate number of qualified candidates for the Hajj. It is with this number that the Commission would enter negotiations that would determine the final fare for the year’s Muslim pilgrimage. Outcome of accommodation, feeding and airline negotiations would also come with announcement of deadline for full fare remittance or refund if there is any excess on the N4.5m.
*Usara is with Public Affairs Unit, NAHCON