By Mariam Zubair Abubakar
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has had an exclusive meeting with the Licensed Tour Operators under the aegis of Association of Hajj and Umrah Operators in Nigeria (AHUON). The meeting was held Tuesday, 15th November 2022, at the Hajj House conference hall of the NAHCON Headquarters in Abuja. Main agenda of the meeting was to review the 2022 Hajj Operation.
The NAHCON Chairman/CEO Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, alluded that this is a trying time for the industry, and he feels empathy for the challenges being faced by the sector, particularly as Saudi Arabia has liberalized the issuance of visa into the Kingdom. The NAHCON Chairman informed the gathering that selected members of management met with Saudi authorities to persuade the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on behalf of travel agencies so that they would not be adversely affected by the policies.
It was disclosed by the NAHCON boss that the Commission has reviewed last year’s Hajj. Outcome of the review will be sent to AHOUN for their possible input. Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan reiterated that both the Commission and the Licensed Tour Operators must work together to achieve their target. He also stated that by December, the Commission should be able to provide information on the number of pilgrim slots that will be allocated to everyone.
The NAHCON Chairman also stated that the Commission is willing to help those affected with refunds from the airlines, while promising to intervene through the Minister for Aviation.
Alhaji Nura Yakasai the Commissioner in charge of Policy Personnel Management and Finance gave an update during the meeting on the issue of refunds and reconciliation of their remittances. He disclosed that out of 176 companies that remitted their caution fees, 170 has been returned leaving six yet to be settled. As for the newly introduced 2% Central Bank Charges, 10% reduction and excess slots refunds, the Commissioner encouraged those who have not received the refunds to write or rewrite a reminder stating their status.
Alhaji Zikrullah concluded the discussion on refunds with a definitive that the commission plans to conclude all matters of refunds by November ending.
While giving the Vote of thanks, Alhaji Ismaila Dan-Bare the AHUON president congratulated the management of the Commission for having a successful 2022 Hajj Operation despite the obstacles encountered during the Hajj. He further said that the Commission was informed of all their complaints and what the Licensed Operators needs and the commission is ready to assist them on issues that were recognized which the commission was not even aware of previously. He also urged all his colleagues to come together as one body so as to achieve their goals and targets without much stress with the hope that things will get better.
AHUON secretariat will soon be opened at the Hajj House Annex with the hope that this will hasten communication and bridge the gap.
Mariam Zubair Abubakar wrote from NAHCON Media Unit
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