Though the local Hajj pilgrims of Saudi Arabia are enjoying some perks including cost reduction, the concerned stakeholders of Bangladesh are apprehending that the cost of Hajj package for Bangladeshis would be increased this year due to dollar crisis and other issues.
The hajj package is likely to be announced by the end of this month, while the cost of Biman fare will be fixed on today (Wednesday).
Under the agreement signed between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia on January 9, a total of 127,198 Bangladeshis will be able to perform hajj in 2023. Biman Bangladesh Airlines has decided to operate hajj flights with its own aircraft this year as well, instead of taking planes on lease.
“The Saudi government has reduced Hajj cost for only their local pilgrims but not for Bangladeshi people. Besides, there is no age limit to perform Umrah,” President of #Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) M Shahadat Hossain Taslim told The New Nation on Tuesday.
They are also working to fix the cost of hajj package for this year, he said.
“Cost of Hajj packages are fixed based on muallem fees, house rent and Biman fare. An inter-ministerial meeting will be held today to fix the Biman fare for Hajj pilgrims,” M Shahadat Hossain Taslim said in reply to a query. He also hinted that the cost of Hajj packages for Bangladeshis would be increased this year due to dollar crisis and global economic condition.
“We are hopeful to announce #Hajj packages by the end of this month,” he said.
The government’s package-1 plan will cost Tk 527,340, package-2 will cost Tk 462,150, while a package of Tk 456,530 has been proposed for the private Hajj package.
Earlier in May 2022, the government announced three packages for the pilgrims — Package-1 priced at Tk 425,000, package-2 at Tk 360,000 and package-3 at Tk 315,000. The price of private packages was announced at Tk 358,000, while the HAAB announced the minimum cost for each pilgrim at Tk 463,000 excluding the cost sacrificial animals.
A total of 4,000 pilgrims performed Hajj under the government’s packages, while 53,585 under private agencies in 2022.
Earlier on January 15, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that more than 90 per cent of the economic Hajj packages have been sold so far, local media reported.
According to Dr Amr bin Reda Al Maddah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj and Umrah Services, this year’s Hajj packages are 30 per cent cheaper than it was last year.
Al Maddah added that the domestic categories are divided based on the companies providing the service. The absorptive capacity will, therefore, be decided according to the type of service provided in the camp.
Besides, the Saudi government has also announced a new insurance policy for foreign Umrah performers, which will reduce the cost of the comprehensive insurance for foreign Umrah performers by 63 per cent.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of KSA has cut the cost from SR 235 to SR 87 with effect from January 10, according to the Saudi Gazette.
It is included in the visa procedures and covers emergency cases such as treatment, admission, hospitalisation, pregnancy, emergency childbirth, emergency dental cases, traffic accident injuries, dialysis cases, and internal and external medical evacuation, the Saudi Gazette reads.
Source: New Nation