The Senate Wednesday passed for second reading, a bill to amend the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Act.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Danbaba (Sokoto South), seeks to domicile all funds accruing to the Hajj Savings Scheme in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The funds are currently warehoused in a commercial bank.
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The scheme creates an avenue for intending Nigerian Muslim pilgrims, especially low income earners, to save for Hajj (pilgrimage to the holy lands of Makkah and Madina).
Jaiz Bank Plc and NAHCON had, in September 2020, signed a savings scheme agreement to make it easier for intending pilgrims to gradually plan and save through a long-saving platform for people who intend to go for hajj.
The proposed legislation is also aimed at prohibiting NAHCON from using funds accruing to the scheme for its operations.
The amendment also seeks to restrict the activities of the commission to its regulatory and coordinating functions as it relates to the conduct and operation of hajj and umrah in Nigeria.
Danbaba said the amendment was to protect the interest of the scheme’s subscribers and prevent diversion of the funds for other purposes.
The House of Representatives had earlier this month asked NAHCON to suspend further implementation of the Hajj Savings Scheme pending the investigation of the scheme by its Committee on Hajj Affairs.
It also mandated the committee to review the agreement between NAHCON and Jaiz Bank Plc on the scheme to ensure transparency and accountability.