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CSO asks NAHCON, states to announce BTA for 2024 pilgrims

The Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a civil society organisation, has called on the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and state pilgrim boards to announce the basic travel allowance (BTA) for 2024 intending pilgrims.

In a statement on Monday, Ibrahim Mohammed, IHR coordinator, said the hajj fare announced by NAHCON did not reflect the BTA of pilgrims.

BTA is an allowance in foreign currency that the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia are allowed to draw from a Nigerian bank.

The stipend is part of the country’s foreign exchange controls and is usually added to the hajj fare components.

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Mohammed said the BTA is usually given to pilgrims before their departure to enable them cater to their basic needs in Saudi Arabia.

“It has become necessary to draw the attention of the NAHCON and state Hajj agencies that the 2024 hajj fare they announced so far did not indicate the amount that will be given to intending pilgrims as BTA contrary to usual practices over the years,” the statement reads.

“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.

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“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.

“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.

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

“We are calling on NAHCON and states Muslim pilgrims welfare agencies to immediately announce how much is the 2024 hajj BTA to intending pilgrims.”

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