NAHCON announces N4.5m as minimum deposit for 2024 Hajj 

Ka'abah in Mecca.
Ka'abah in Mecca.

NAHCON announces N4.5m as minimum deposit for 2024 Hajj

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has recently made a significant announcement regarding the minimum deposit required for Hajj 2024.

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In light of the federal government’s unification of foreign exchange rates, NAHCON has advised state pilgrim welfare boards to collect a deposit of N4.5 million from prospective pilgrims.

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This move comes as a response to the fluctuating foreign exchange rates, which have the potential to impact the overall cost of the pilgrimage.

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The Chairman of NAHCON, Zikrullah Hassan, emphasized the uncertainty surrounding the cost of Hajj 2024 due to the current exchange rate, with the dollar valued at N750.

He stressed that the era of concessionary rates is over, and the cost of Hajj is expected to rise.

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The forex rate, which currently stands at N740 per dollar, adds to the complexity of estimating the pilgrimage’s cost.

Hassan expressed hope that the exchange rate might improve, but preparations for a potentially expensive Hajj have already commenced.

Hassan further revealed that Saudi Arabia would cease issuing visas 45 days prior to Arafah. This change aims to prevent last-minute alterations by state governors to accommodate additional pilgrims.

With the visa issuance closing by April 29, pilgrims are expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia 10 days later. This decision reinforces the need for careful planning and eliminates the possibility of securing visas after the cutoff date.

NAHCON has taken steps to establish a committee tasked with securing refunds for services not provided to Nigerian pilgrims during the 2023 Hajj. This proactive measure demonstrates the Commission’s commitment to ensuring fairness and accountability in the pilgrimage process.

Ibrahim Muhammed, the National Coordinator of Independent Hajj Reporters, highlighted the challenges posed by the weakening position of the Naira against the US dollar.

He noted that approximately 80 to 90 percent of Hajj expenses are dollar-based, encompassing airfare, accommodation, catering, transportation within Saudi Arabia, and even the pilgrims’ Basic Traveling Allowance (BTA).

The only Naira components are pilgrim uniforms, suitcases, and service charges. Muhammed urged the government to consider providing pilgrims with access to dollars at a concessionary rate to mitigate the rising costs.

NAHCON’s announcement of the N4.5 million minimum deposit for Hajj 2024 underscores the challenges posed by fluctuating foreign exchange rates.

As preparations for the pilgrimage begin, the uncertainty regarding the exchange rate adds complexity to cost estimates. To ensure that Nigeria can fully utilize its Hajj quota, the federal government should explore options such as providing concessionary access to dollars. This proactive approach could alleviate the financial burden on pilgrims and facilitate a smoother pilgrimage experience.


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