President Muhammadu Buhari was on Friday briefed on the preparations for 2018 Hajj. The President was detailed on the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, meeting held in Saudi Arabia last month by the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, and the Chairman / Chief Executive Officer of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Abdullahi Muhammad, at the presidential villa.
In a statement signed by NAHCON’s Chief Informations Officer, Adamu Abdullahi, Mr. Buhari was informed that “Nigeria’s approved quota for Hajj 2018 was 95,000 slots with 75,000 going to State Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Agencies and 20,000 going to Private Tour Operators”.
“He was also briefed about some of the new policies introduced by the Saudi Arabian Government which included payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) by all consumers of goods and services in Saudi Arabia beginning 1st January, 2018; Fixing of May 2018 as the deadline for the conclusion of all Hajj arrangements and the introduction of biometric data capture for all intending pilgrims.”
In reaction, Mr. Buhari restated t his commitment to the “welfare, health and security needs of Nigerian pilgrims while on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia”.
The statement said Mr. Buhari also expressed concern over the challenges currently faced by intending Umrah pilgrims.
The president observed that while Nigeria was not against the introduction of Biometrics capture by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the problem is caused “by the non-preparedness of the company appointed to implement the policy in Nigeria.
“He assured Nigerian pilgrims of his commitment to address the problem along with its attendant consequences on Hajj and Umrah operations in the country.”