Group asks Hajj Commission to disclose BTA for intending pilgrims in Nigeria.

Group asks Hajj Commission to disclose BTA for intending pilgrims in Nigeria.

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A group under the aegis of Independent Hajj Reporters, IHR, has demanded that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON and the state Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Agencies make public the amount to be paid to all intending pilgrims as Basic Travel Allowance, BTA for this year’s Hajj.

This, IHR said, has become necessary since the announcements made so far on Hajj fares by both the NAHCON and states did not indicate the amount that will be given to intending pilgrims as BTA contrary to usual practices over the years.

The group, in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed, explained that BTA is an allowance of foreign currency that a Nigerian citizen, in this case, the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia is allowed to draw from a Nigerian bank when travelling abroad, adding that it’s a part of the country’s foreign exchange controls and such money is included in the hajj fare components.

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“Traditionally, the announcement of Hajj fare by NAHCON always comes with a provision of Basic Travelling Allowance for each intending pilgrim. This is meant to allow pilgrims to prepare their minds on how much they will receive and make their financial plans accordingly.

“For example, the 2023 Hajj pilgrims paid an average of N2.9m inclusive of $800 Basic Travel Allowance. Hajj fare computations consist of local and foreign service components with Basic Travelling Allowance for pilgrims.

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“However, the previous board of NAHCON later slashed the 2023 Hajj BTA to $700 owing to what they described as differentials in airfare tickets.

“This year’s hajj fare was announced without stating how much is the BTA even when additional hajj fare was announced,” IHR stressed.

The group said the BTA is given to pilgrims on the day of their departure to Saudi Arabia as pocket expense funds to enable pilgrims to take care of certain financial needs while in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“It is strange that the two-hajj fares announced so far by NAHCON did not include provisions for BTA for intending pilgrims even after another announcement on the increment of the fare from N4.899 million to N6.617 million.

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“We are calling on NAHCON and States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Agencies to immediately announce how much is the 2024 hajj BTA to intending pilgrims,” the group added.

Group asks Hajj Commission to disclose BTA for intending pilgrims in Nigeria.

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