Senate proposes N200 exchange rate for pilgrims
The amount is however lower than the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
This was part of recommendations contained in the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs sequel to investigations into the hike in airfare for this year's Hajj exercise.
The committee was also saddled with the responsibility of investigating the alleged extortion of pilgrims by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
Presenting the report, chairman of the committee, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu said the reduction was to cut down on cost for intending pilgrims.
“The government should as matter of urgency extend concession on the Naira – Dollar exchange to NAHCON and NCPC, once in every year, for the pilgrimages to the two Holy Lands,” read the report.
“Therefore, the committee strongly recommends the concession of N200 to $1 for 2017 Hajj to bring down cost to the bearable level,” it added.
The amount is, however, lower than what was approved in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
The committee noted that the Hajj Commission did not unilaterally fix the airfare for the 2017 Hajj but engaged the services of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and experts in the sector.
The report noted that the approved airfare for 2016 Hajj was between $1,700 to $1,750 whilst for 2017 the fares are $1,650 to $1,700.
The committee cautioned tour operators against making Hajj arrangement on presumption until the entire process was concluded and the actual cost of all the relevant services are arrived at to avoid misinformation.
It further said that NAHCON ‘must be made to wield the big stick’ on any erring tour operator to bring sanity to the system.
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