The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria jointly with the Forum of State Executive Secretaries of Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards/Agencies/Commissions on the 5th of September 2023 agreed to peg the minimum deposit for Hajj 2024 at N4.5million (four million five hundred thousand). This became necessary to be in tandem with the Dollar rate that will determine the final cost of the coming Hajj. At the end of the said post Hajj meeting in September, all the Hajj stakeholders at the meeting departed with the same resolution to inform the public that the minimum deposit for an intending pilgrim to be registered for the 2024 Hajj is N4.5m.
The wisdom behind this minimum deposit revolved around three reasons. First, is for the states and the Commission to estimate how many pilgrims would be eligible to be counted as intending pilgrims at least by 4th November 2023, a time set by Saudi Arabia for the Commission to conclude preparatory meetings with service providers. Knowing the estimated number of eligible pilgrims is one of the indices that would guide the preparatory meetings. This Saudi timeline is roughly three weeks from now.
Secondly, it was agreed in unison that with that amount, the top up residual by the time the final fare will be announced would be minimal compared to what may be required to balance up if the minimum deposit were to be set in a lesser sum.
Besides, setting a lower deposit aggregate would be more challenging for a larger number of persons to top up should the end sum be on the high side. Thereby leading to miscalculations. This would be counterproductive to timely and accurate planning.
Hence, and thirdly too, the Commission would have a more realistic figure to bargain for cost of accommodation, airline fares, feeding, and others knowing the number of persons that were able to reach the N4.5m threshold by the time of preparatory meetings.
The said meeting ended with members agreeing unanimously with this plan. Indeed, the Hajj industry in Nigeria is recognized under only one leadership which is the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, and this institution reiterates that the minimum deposit for the 2024 Hajj remains N4.5m.
The balance will be determined by the cost of the dollar at the time of final Hajj fare computation. The public, especially intending pilgrims, is warned not to hold the Commission responsible if after paying a lower amount of deposit, such an intending pilgrim fails to be counted among eligible applicants for 2024 Hajj season.
The Commission also wishes to remind those interested in participating in the 2024 Hajj of the time constraint with regards to final date of funds remittance into the coffers of Saudi Arabian account for the processing of Visas.
The Commission is expected to complete payment for accommodation and holy sites contracts by February 2024 to enable commencement of Visa issuance by 3rd March up to 29th April 2024. In view of this challenge, pilgrims are enjoined to make their deposits in time to enable their respective boards to complete registration and remittance of Hajj fare by 5th January.
Fatima Sanda Usara’
Assistant Director, Public Affairs,
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