The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has secured a deal with Saudi Arabia service providers to ease the comfort of Nigerians during the 2024 pilgrimage.
Specifically, NAHCON secured cost reduction on pilgrims’ accommodation in Makkah, Madina, and Masha’ir and cut VAT on other services due for Nigerian pilgrims.
Addressing state chief executives of hajj boards in Abuja, NAHCON Chairman, Jalal Ahmad Arabi, disclosed that the commission along with other stakeholders was able to strike a better bargain with the providers during the just concluded pre-hajj visit at the Kingdom.
Arabi, in a statement by Hajia Fatima Usarah, assistant director, public affairs at NAHCON, said the commission had solicited mutual concession for reduced cost, considering global economic realities affecting intending pilgrims from Nigeria in the aftermath of Covid-19 meltdown and the war in Europe.
Arabi used opportunity of the meeting to update the stakeholders on outcome of meetings with Mu’assasa and the plans on ground for the coming Hajj. The Chairman promised the members transparency and inclusiveness on every matter concerning the forthcoming Hajj.
“Resultant from the Chairman’s taming culture was a significant cut on negotiable services in Makkah, Madinah and Masha’ir in the interest of Nigerian intending pilgrims struggling to balance their Hajj deposits. Reductions were attained in the cost of airfare, accommodation and masha’ir packages,” Arabi said.
“For instance, the cost of accommodation in Madinah dropped from SR 2,080 (Saudi Riyals) of 2023 to SR 1,665 this year. Similarly, cost of accommodation in Makkah was realized at SR 3000 against SR 3,500 of the previous year.
“Pilgrims of 2024 Hajj will pay SR 4,770 for Masha’ir package (VAT inclusive) against SR 5,393 paid by last year’s pilgrims. For air fare, the Commission was able to beat down the cost with a $138 discount from what was paid last year.
“To crown the well-coordinated visit, the Commission was recognized with an award by the 2024 Hajj and Umrah Conference and Exhibition Organizing Committees.”
The Chairman also updated the meeting on the number, standard and facilities on accommodations secure in the holy cities for intending pilgrims during the pilgrimage.
“It is noteworthy that within the period of the inspection, a total of 61 high rise hotel buildings were inspected in Makkah and 31 in Madinah making in total 92. Staff on the assignment verified years of each building’s existence with preference for those with 1-10 years after construction,” Arabi said.
The Chairman emphasized the NAHCON’s resolve settle for buildings with amenities for physically challenged persons, refrigerators, double-door wardrobes, availability of first aid boxes, water dispensers, functional air conditioners; intercom and internet.