2019 Hajj: Group lauds State Pilgrims’ Boards for low fare
A non-governmental Organization, Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), has lauded Muslim pilgrims welfare boards across the states for maintaining low fare for this year’s hajj.
The group, which monitors and reports hajj activities in Nigeria, underscored the civility of the states for keeping the cost of hajj within N1.5 million bracket, despite increase in charges for some hajj services in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Kano state pilgrims board has fixed N1,535,754 as fare charge for 2019 hajj exercise. The amount is inclusive of $800 Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) per pilgrim.
Executive secretary of the board, Alhaji Mohammad said the final fare, which was approved by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), was arrived at after due consideration and computation of foreign exchange rate and hajj expenses.
National coordinator, IHR, Ibrahim Muhammed in a statement explained that unlike countries like Gambia, Cameroun, Pakistan and Bangladesh where hajj fare increased by 80 percent, Nigeria has maintained reasonable cost.
In Kano State, the breakdown of the 2019 hajj fare shows that each pilgrim that paid N1.5 million will collect $800, an equivalent of (N288,400) as Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), two pairs of suitcases that cost N16, 000:00 and a set of uniform that costs N4,000.
The analysis further indicates, “Each pilgrim will be fed twice for 35 days which costs about N85, 000. The remaining cost of the hajj package covers pilgrims accommodation in Makkah for 35 days, Madina 7 – 8 days, Return air ticket, transportation within Saudi Arabia which has been increased by 70% by the authorities in the holy land as well as hajj services in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa.
“The return air ticket that used to cost $1,750 dollar has now been bargained downward to $1,550. The Pilgrims accommodation in Madina has also been brought down by $50.
“The breakdown shows that there is no increase in any component service that falls within the scope of states Muslim pilgrims’ welfare boards or National Hajj Commission of Nigeria.
“For example, the states Muslim pilgrim’s welfare boards that hitherto pay SR4, 000 for accommodation in Makkah are now to pay between SR3, 750 to SR3, 700 for the same accommodation.”
The IHR revealed that despite 70 per cent increase on transportation by Saudi Authorities, which incidentally affected hajj fare this year, Nigeria hajj stakeholders were able to peg the cost of other services to maintain relatively low fare.
Giving the situation analysis in other countries, “for instance, Pakistan increased 2019 Hajj fare by Rs1,56,975. In 2018, Pakistani pilgrims paid Rs2,70,000 while, this year, they will pay Rs4,26,000 addition.
“Gambia saw 85 per cent increase of its hajj cost. The country’s 2019 hajj fare is GMB 323,000:00 (USD6,500) arguably the highest in Africa. Again, Dhakar Tribune of 19th of May reported that Bangladesh 2019 Hajj expenses go up by Tk24,645. This means that the Bangladesh government’s Hajj package-1 rose by Tk20,571 while that of package-2 rose by Tk24,645 in 2019.”