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Saudi imposes levy on repeat Hajj pilgrims

By Garba Ahmed, Kaduna on 04/03/2018

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•Nigerian Hajj pilgrims leaving for Saudi Arabia
•Nigerian Hajj pilgrims leaving for Saudi Arabia

Prospective Nigerian pilgrims who have performed Hajj or Umrah in the last two years are to pay a compulsory levy of 2,000 Saudi Riyals, an equivalent of N163,000.

The Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar, disclosed this in Sokoto on Saturday at a sensitisation campaign on the 2018 Hajj organised by the commission for prospective pilgrims and officials of the Pilgrims Welfare Agencies from Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states.

He explained that the levy is exclusive of the substantive fare for the 2018 hajj exercise which is yet to be announced by the Nigerian Government.

The NAHCON Chairman disclosed that the levy recently announced by the Saudi Arabian Hajj Ministry became fully effective during the 2017 hajj exercise and is binding on all hajj repeat goers across the Muslim world.

Barrister Muhkar, represented by the National Commissioner in Charge of Operations, Alhaji Abdullahi Modibbo Sale, said that the enlightenment campaign was organised to intimate the nation’s prospective pilgrims on the need to ensure the completion of their hajj fares on or before the end of March 2018. This, he noted, would enable the commission and the various pilgrim welfare agencies to make early and efficient arrangements.

Another reason for the event, according to Barrister Muhktar, was to intimate prospective pilgrims on the introduction of biometric data capturing of all Umrah and Hajj pilgrims by the Saudi Arabian authorities. He said that three centres have been opened in Kano, Lagos and Abuja, for the data capturing, while efforts are on by the commission to ensure the increment of the centres.

Similarly, Barrister Mukhtar intimated the Nigerian prospective pilgrims that the Saudi Arabian authorities have introduced a five per cent Value Added Tax on all services, excluding food items and medical drugs.

The Chairman of the Forum of Pilgrims Welfare Agencies in Nigeria and Chairman of the Zamfara State PWA, Alhaji Alhaji Abubakar Sarkin Fawa Danbo, commended NAHCON for organising the event.

He said that the various PWAs in Nigeria were working round the clock to ensure the success of the 2018 hajj exercise.

Chairman of the Sokoto State PWA, Alhaji Muntari Maigona, called on the commission to allow the various state pilgrims welfare agencies to deploy medical doctors and other medical staff to accompany the pilgrims during the forthcoming hajj exercise.

On feeding, Alhaji Maigona suggested that the existing arrangements should be improved, while the number of feeding companies should be increased.

The Director-General of the Sokoto State Pilgrims Welfare Agency, Alhaji Shehu Mohammed Dange, lauded the commission for organising the sensitisation campaign. He assured that the State Government, as well as the agency, was fully committed to conducting a successful hajj exercise.

 

 

Source News Express

Posted 04/03/2018 05:31:07 AM

 

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