Hajj Mabrur laments low patronage

Nigerian pilgrims boarding a MaxAir aircraft to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.<br />

The economic situation in the country has been identified as the major cause of low patronage of Nigerians in the 2018 Hajj exercise.

The Managing Director of Hajj Mabrur Ventures Limited, Alhaji Abdul Hameed Solate, who reveled this in an exclusive interview with The Guardian noted that the issue of foreign exchange was well taking care by the Federal Government but the core setback is the economic downturn.

“ Because of the economic challenges pilgrim respond very late, which also affect the planning procedure of tour operators”, he said.

Solate said although the Federal Government and National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) made spirited effort to overcome the challenges but the introduction of biometrics, where pilgrims will have to travel for capturing before operators can commence processing of their visa is overwhelming.

“ We have just only four centers across the country were pilgrims can do the capturing.

They have to travel to this places before they could be captured.”

He added that Hajj fare is paid electronically now, if you don’t have fund in the system, there is no how you can pay to Saudi authority.

Making it difficult for operators not to pay on time.

He said the total number of Hajj slots giving to Nigeria is95, 000 by Saudi authority, out of which 15,000 was allocated to private tour operators.
With the report on ground Nigeria was able to secure only 55,000 sits out of the 95,000 slots that is available.

He said that despite that, there is no major increment in the cost of hajj seat compare to the previous year, there is tremendous drop in the level of patronage.

“It affect both the government and private tour operators, the drop is basically because of financial situation in the country.

We are all conscious of the economic situation; some operators even reduce their fare trying to see how the price can be affordable for intending pilgrims.

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