Federal Government Pays N90bn Hajj Fares Subsidy | The Legend News 

Hajj

The federal government has released a sum of N90 billion to subsidise the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 

According to reports, this was revealed to the The Press Nigeria by a source within the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).

The source, who reportedly spoke on the condition of anonymity, noted that without this intervention, each of the intending pilgrims would have been requested to add at least N3.5 million to the initial fare, which was pegged at N4.9 million.

A top official at the Presidency also confirmed that the federal government “actually provided some financial support for the Hajj exercise.”.

The NAHCON had, in December last year, fixed a fare of N4.9 million per pilgrim based on the exchange rate of N897 to a dollar.

At the time, the commission announced that the cost would be N4,899,000 for southern pilgrims, N4,699,000 for those from the north, and N4,679,000 for pilgrims from Yola and Maiduguri.

According to a statement made on Sunday by its spokesperson, Fatima Usara, the Hajj commission increased the ticket by N1, 918,032.91, bringing the total amount to N6.8 million.

The commission further stated that intending pilgrims have until yesterday (March 28, 2024) to make payment for the spiritual practice.

The NAHCON attributed the recent increase in hajj fare to Nigeria’s foreign exchange problem, which has lasted months.

According to a NAHCON source, if the commission had gotten up to N230 billion in federal government funding, there would have been no need to ask intending pilgrims “to add a dime.”

“The forex crisis has caused a lot of problems. That is why the Hajj Commission has asked intending pilgrims to pay the extra amount of N1.9 million each. The commission actually needed N230 billion to sort out the fare differential caused by the forex crisis.

“The N90 billion in support that was provided by the government was announced in the presence of reporters during the inauguration of the board and management of the Hajj Commission, which was held at the Office of the Vice Presidency on February 28, 2024. But they were asked not to report it. That was why no newspaper carried the report. Or did you see it in any reports?”

“If the intending pilgrims pay ₦1.9 million, then it can be balanced,” the source further stated.

He said that the NAHCON had also contacted state governors “to subsidise the hajj fare for the intending pilgrims in their respective states. Kano has responded by subsidising it by N500,000 for each pilgrim.

“By the previous calculation, the N90 billion given by the federal government can only subsidise 19,000 intending pilgrims by ₦3.5 million. But by spreading it on 50,000 pilgrims, it reduces it to N1.9 million, meaning that the federal government has subsidised each pilgrim by ₦1.6 million before each intending pilgrim was asked to add the remaining N1.9 million,” he said.

A source from the presidency also confirmed that the federal government had provided “huge financial support” for this year’s hajj practice.

When asked to confirm whether the federal government released up to N90 billion in funding for the pilgrimage, the official simply said, “That might not be far from the truth.”

He added, “Of course, the federal government has offered support for the pilgrims because they have been lamenting.

“Normally, any support that the government is giving to any faith, whether the Christian faith or the Muslim faith, the government does not like to announce it openly so that it will not appear as if the government is favouring faith.”

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