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Tue. Oct 27th, 2020

FOR THE RECORD: BEING THE “SPEECH BY THE CHAIRMAN/CEO OF NATIONAL HAJJ COMMISSION OF NIGERIA (NAHCON) AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE PILOT SCHEME OF BANK-LED HAJJ SAVINGS SCHEME ON 4TH OCTOBER, 2020 AT HAJJ DEMONSTRATION CENTRE, AIRPORT ROAD, KANO”

PROTOCOL

It gives me immense joy to be here to formally launch the pilot phase of Bank-led Hajj Savings Scheme in this ancient city of Kano.

The choice of the city for this epic event is not an accident but one carefully made because of its status and unique history as the first centre of pilgrims’ departure to Makkah for many decades and also her pioneering role as a Hub of private Hajj operator’s services

Today, we stand on the threshold of history, as the journey of over 10 years has come to a fruitful climax. There is no gain saying that the formal launching of Bank led HSS is the first of its kind in our sub-region as no Hajj Mission in the entire continent has to my knowledge, an institutional scheme of this nature.

On this note, I want to congratulate the Board, Management and staff of NAHCON particularly those in the HSS Division for their commitment towards the actualization of one of our major policy thrust which has been on the front burner over the years.
Upon our inauguration in February 2020, my Board declared our intention to change the narrative of Hajj, especially the escalating cost of Hajj, by making it affordable to a large number of our people. The beginning of that aspiration is what we are gathered here to witness today.

I wish to therefore thank the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, for its support which has been constant like the Northern Star and which has enabled us to achieve our goals since our appointment.

The Hajj Savings Scheme as you may well be aware, evolved by virtue of Section 7 Sub-Section (1)of the legal instrument establishing the Commission which empowers it to, among other things, to “establish, supervise and regulate a system of Hajj Savings Scheme to be operated by the Pilgrims Welfare Board of each state and FCT for interested pilgrims”.

Therefore, the event of today is the fulfillment of our mandate using the Jaiz Bank Plc for the take-off of the HSS. The new system will operate concurrently with what we have known as ‘Pay As You Go’ at transitional period. However, payments made by the 2020 intending pilgrims will remain with the respective State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards and will be given priority in our preparations for the 2021 Hajj exercise.

At this point, I want to once again express my happiness to my two predecessors, – Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, Honourable Minister, FCT and Barr. Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, MON, FCIAand their Boards for the very significant contributions they made in building and setting up Technical and Study Committees that formulated, the blueprints that addresses the various issues and concerns in actualizing this mandate.

Permit me to also thank the board and management of Jaiz Bank Plc for the work they have done so far and to remind them that this is just the beginning of positive things to come.

You will recall that on 10th September, 2020, I signed the operating Agreement with our partner the Jaiz Bank in Abuja to kick start the implementation of the Bank-led model of the HSS.

This model was designed and developed as a stop-gap for the full-blown Hajj Savings Scheme pending the conclusion of administrative and organizational structure towards obtaining of an operating license from the Central Bank of Nigeria

May I also say a few words about our choice of Jaiz Bank Plc. The bank, for about a decade, has been working on our behalf to develop and provide framework for integrating old payment system with modern day solutions so as to improve our Hajj system. They have so far discharged their duties selflessly and with utmost integrity.

Since we all believe that the future of Hajj lies in a digital-driven financial system, a functional financial system like the HSS is apt as it will set off a chain of opportunities and nationwide economic activities.

It must be emphasized here that the Scheme, when fully implemented, will among others, have domino effects in the following ways:-
1. Safeguard the intending pilgrims against fraudster as you know, the traditional savings methods mostly in use especially in rural areas is fraught with lots of risks and hardship caused by marauders, thieves or even natural disasters like fire outbreak
2. Intending pilgrims no longer need to sell-off or dispose their lives savings or assets, nor would they rely on their well to do relations to be able to pay for Hajj anymore
3. Provide reliable and accurate data for effective and efficient service delivery
4. Enhanced advance planning for accommodation, feeding and airlift operations
5. Offers subsidy and a great opportunity to reduce cost of Hajj
6. Strengthen the economic capacity of contributors
7. Provide economic power to Muslims to lift them out of poverty
8. Job creation through pockets of portfolio investments
9. Aligned Nigeria’s Hajj system to global standard
10. Boost the country’s GDP.

This novel Scheme also gives intending pilgrims/depositors various options in which they can participate or be enrolled through either of the following:-

(i) Pilgrims can enroll through the State Pilgrims Welfare Boards/Agencies/Commissions or private Tour Operators as the case may be

(ii) Enrolment can be through HSS Apps, or any Jaiz Bank outlet, although subscribers must indicate the state in which they intend to make the journey

(iii) Bulk payment or usual Pay As You Go through the private Tour Operators remains
At this juncture, I wish to allay the fears and concerns being expressed by some stakeholders, especially my colleagues from the State Pilgrims Welfare Boards/Agencies, that the Scheme will strip them off their function as custodian of Hajj Fare. I want to assure them that, as key players in the scheme, they like the depositors stand to benefit more from the accruable profits with the sharing ratio at 40, 30, 20 and 10 for pilgrims, Jaiz Bank, NAHCON and the States respectively. Therefore, your support and cooperation is very critical and important to the success of the Scheme

Ladies and gentlemen, it is our hope that as the scheme improves and develops, it will improve stakeholders’ confidence thereby contributing to economic growth in the country.

It is with a deep feeling of pride therefore that I hereby announce to you the official
launch and commencement of Bank-led Hajj Savings Scheme which marks the commencement of transition from analog to digital, in line with global best practices and standard.
However, as we revel in this success story, we are not oblivious of the fact that this is just the beginning of a new journey which requires all stakeholders – our Traditional Rulers, Ulamas, Public Commentators and our friends in the media to assist us in educating and enlightening our prospective pilgrims on the need to subscribe to the scheme and the enormous benefits accruable therefrom.

I wish to extend our gratitude and appreciation to the esteemed Chairman of this occasion, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, CFR, mni and all our Royal Fathers here present. I also extend our appreciations to your Excellencies, the Governors of Jigawa and Katsina States, Alh. Muhammad Badaru Abubakar and Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari. Our host Governor (Dr.) Abdullahi Umar
Ganduje(Khadimul-Islam) and all of our guests who have had to come from outside Kano. Thank you all for coming today and for the role you have played in bringing about today’s success story.

I wish you all a safe stay in Kano and safe journey back home.

Thank you and God bless.

Maa Salam.

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