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NAHCON calls for improved hajj operations

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The Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, has called for professionalism in the management of Hajj and Umrah.

Hassan, who made this call during the International Hajj Conference and Indonesian Shariah Economic Festival (ISEF) 2020, said that having a global body such as International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Standards Organization (ISO) and Project Management Institute (PMI) would ensure pilgrims from any part of the globe enjoy similar standards of services from their home countries as obtainable with air travel, hotel or banking services.

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He urged countries to explore the opportunities presented in the conference/festival and agree for follow-up actions aimed at sealing relationships and the possible signing of agreements.

He said: “A small working group could be constituted within acceptable laws and rules, to liaise and facilitate further action on items and areas of interest between countries.”

According to him, “the Global Hajj Fund Management is assuming an interesting trajectory in the world today. We see the likes of Malaysia’s Theta Edge Berhard, a bona fide child of Hajj funds making in-roads in the ICT services sector within and outside Malaysia with posting annual revenue of between 19 and 21 Million USD in the last two years.”

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“However, as far as Hajj is concerned, our two Hajj fund giants, Tabung Haji and BPKH have a lot to offer in the real estate sector in Saudi Arabia and the financial services sector especially bridge financing which countries like Nigeria might require,” he said.

The NAHCON boss noted that as mouth-watering as these opportunities may seem, they are not without their fair share of challenges.

He said participating countries in the conference, collectively accounted for 19 percent (almost one-fifth) of the total international pilgrims that performed Hajj in 2019 according to statistics released by the Saudi General Authority for Statistics.

“In my layman’s estimation, the combined funds invested by these countries in the Hajj economy of Saudi Arabia in 2019 is in the region of $1.3 Billion in 2019 alone. To put this in a little perspective, this amount equals the combined budget of two states in Nigeria that have a total population of about 21 million people. While the total Hajj funds managed by these countries stand in the region of $25 Billion in 2019, the potential to hit $50 Billion before the end of the decade is high”.

Adding that the potentials and comparative advantages these four countries alone have is enough reason to explore the possibilities abound in trade and investments within and outside the Hajj family.

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