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Hajj: Civil society urges N200/$1 exchange rate concession for pilgrims

Independent Hajj Reporters has appealed to the federal government to grant a N200/$1 exchange rate concession for 2017 intending pilgrims to lower the hajj fare.…

Independent Hajj Reporters has appealed to the federal government to grant a N200/$1 exchange rate concession for 2017 intending pilgrims to lower the hajj fare.

A statement by the civil society organisation national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed and publicity secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud, said the concession will reduce the hajj fare pegged at N1.5 million.

“The announcement of 2017 hajj fare is generating outcry from Nigeria Muslims. The Nigerian pilgrims are to pay a minimum of N1.5 million, including $800 the Basic Travelling Allowance," the statement said.

"Precisely, Kano state pilgrims are to pay N1, 537, 859.97, Niger N1, 525, 483.30 while Ogun state pilgrims are to pay N1. 561. 043, the statement said.

The statement said "it is noteworthy that in 2015, the total package of dollar components of hajj fare was $4, 721.93 and pilgrims paid N766, 557 as its naira equivalent."

"This year, the dollar component in the hajj fare stood at $4, 849 and pilgrims are to pay N1, 511, 223 as its naira equivalent. Likewise in 2016, hajj fare paid by pilgrims was N1, 008.911 being $5, 007 that makes up the dollar components of last year hajj," the civil society said.

The NGO said during the 2016 hajj exercise, the federal government allowed pilgrims to access dollar at N197/$1 – being the exchange rate as at when pilgrims paid their hajj fare last year. Currently, the exchange rate stands at N305/$1 which have greatly raised the 2017 hajj fare.

Independent Hajj Reporters said while it acknowledged the policy of this government of non- sponsorship of people on pilgrimage, it is equally important to note that pilgrims are helpless when it comes to monetary forex policies.

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