More governors embrace Hajj Savings Scheme  as a potential wealth creating venture

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By Fatima Sanda Usara

As more state governors embrace the HSS for its econometrical attraction, the North East launching of the Hajj Savings Scheme took place today, Thursday 25thMarch 2021 in Bauchi.

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Taking a cue from Malaysia where the Tabung Haji boasts of deposits to the tune of RM73.86 billion as at June 2020,with the year’s profit after Zakat standing at RM1.55 billion despite Covid-19 pandemic. It is believed that the Nigerian version holds even greater prospects. If Malaysia with only about 30,000 slots allocation is able to reap the RM1.55 billion yields after investment, Nigeria with 95,000 is projected to triple its returns by the time more intending pilgrims subscribe to scheme.

The major logic behind the HSS is that instead of pilgrims making deposits into separate state welfare board accounts without yields, this option provides that all Hajj deposits will be made into one single account with the Ja’iz bank as the broker. The cumulative strength of the funds will attract bigger profit after investment wherefrom the pilgrim reaps gains for his contribution in addition to a secured Hajj slot. The state receives its own share from the investment as managers of its pilgrims’ affairs, NAHCON is allocated its administrative levies and the Bank receives its commission as the fund’s managers in halal investment spheres. It becomes a win-win situation for all partakers in the project instead of the present situation where intending pilgrims receive nothing in return for their Hajj deposits no matter how long it stays in the state boards’ or NAHCON’s CBN coffers.

A long term plus for this scheme is that with higher turnovers in due course, the profits will be used to subsidize Hajj fare for subscribers thereby maintaining a cheaper and consistent fare as is obtained in countries where the scheme is stably functional.

The above is the summary of the presentations made during the North East launching of HSS in Bauchi state.

In his remarks at the launching of HSS in Bauchi, His Excellency, Sen Bala Muhammad, Executive Governor of Bauchi state and chief launcher charged management of NAHCON and Ja’iz bank as custodians of the pilgrims’ deposits to manage the peoples’ wealth with the fear of God. He affirmed that the two stakeholders will go through integrity test in time to come but he has no fear that they will excel. He is convinced that the scheme has the potential benefit of being a financial reserve that will serve the society through social safety nets and other financial ventures.

Presenting his opening remarks during the launching, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, Chairman of NAHCON commended the Bauchi state governor for his behind the scenes contribution to Hajj industry in Nigeria. Describing the governor as the people’s governor, he thanked Sen. Bala Muhammad for his support towards the commission’s enthusiasm and aspiration of transforming the Hajj industry into a vibrant, active organization with investment channels and job creation platforms that will align Nigeria with other Hajj systems across the globe.

Reaffirming the NAHCON Chairman’s stance, the Managing Director of Ja’iz Bank, Alhaji Hassan Usman observed that numerous countries across the world do not consider Hajj as a religious matter only but take advantage of its economic impact through which they exploit its commercial and money-making benefits. He opined that the scheme has the potential of capital formation stating that savings and investment have the wheel of moving the economy of any country forward. Indeed, the M.D observed that Bauchi governor is investing in various sectors that will make the state compete with any other in the country.

Present at the launching were the Deputy Governor of Bauchi, Sen Baba Tela, Hon, Isa Babayo Tilde, the emir of Bauchi, His Royal Highness Alhaji Dr Rilwan Sulaiman Adamu CFR, emir of Katagum, emir of Dass Chief Judge of the state, secretary to the state government, executive secretaries of Plateau, Adamawa, Yobe Gombe and Borno states pilgrims’ welfare boards.

The Executive Secretary of Bauchi pilgrims welfare board, Alhaji Abubakar Babangida Tafida pledged support for the HSS and other NAHCON’s programs.

Fatima Sanda Usara is  Head, Public Affairs, NAHCON

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