The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has projected the sum of N2.5 million for the 2022 Hajj as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on April 17, 2022, lifted the ban on performing hajj.
The chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, stated this on Thursday in Abuja during the Commission’s meeting with the chief executives of State Muslim Pilgrims Boards/Agencies/Commissions to give an update on 2022 Hajj preparations.
According to the NAHCON boss, the projected amount was arrived at based on the present exchange rate of N410 to a dollar compared to N306 in 2019. He said the inflation rate of 10 per cent, the increase in the price of aviation fuel and the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 per cent to 15 per cent are some of the factors responsible for the projected fare. He added that the commission will give its best to intending pilgrims to this year’s hajj.
“Hajj this year is going to be expensive because of the following four premises. First, the projected amount was arrived at based on the present exchange rate of N410 to a dollar compared to N306 in 2019 and if you look at the difference in the gap, that is about a 34 per cent increase. And secondly, Saudi Arabia has increased their VAT from 5 per cent to 15 per cent which again is a jump in cost. Thirdly and equally importantly, Saudi Arabia my message a few weeks ago of which you (the chief executives) are aware, they told us themselves that hajj is going to be expensive. Not minding the problem, we are already managing our exchange rate. And for your records, hajj is about 97 per cent determine the cost you pay. The control is not in our hands and aviation cost is no more the same even locally. Aviation fuel has not been tamed, so that is there. Saudi Arabia has said they have invested in Arafat and Mina to indicate to us that hajj is going to be expensive which is saying that the cost of services will not be as it is used to be,” he said.
Alhaji Kunle Hassan said those above 65 years will not be allowed to perform this year’s hajj according to rules from Saudi Arabia. He stated that all intending pilgrims must be fully vaccinated with their three doses while adding that vaccination taken by intending pilgrims are still valid.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has been allocated 43,008 hajj slots for 2022 with the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory getting 33,976 seats and private tour operators sharing 9,032 seats. Kaduna State got the highest allocation of 2,491 seats while Abia got 6 with zero allocation to Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States. The 2022 seat allocation was based on the performance of each state in the 2019 Hajj airlift.
The secretary of Oyo State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mrs Khadijat Olanipekun, in an interview with reporters, said Oyo State is ready to give the best to its intending pilgrims. She said though the 629 seats allocated to Oyo State are too small, she said the state will work around the figure to satisfy the intending pilgrims.