Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 9 March 2017 | 1,280 times
The elimination of middle men and agents in accommodation procurement for Nigerian pilgrims by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) will sanitise the system, Independent Hajj Reporters has said.
The Commission said it saved about $12.3 million by cutting off these agents from the housing pricing this year. A statement by the Civil Society’s national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed and publicity secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud on Wednesday in Kaduna, said for years, agents and middle men exploited some state pilgrims welfare boards by charging them far higher than the exact value of pilgrims accommodation especially in Makkah.
NAHCON Chairman, Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammed said recently, that their direct contract negotiations with landlords saved Nigeria about $12.3 million, meaning that pilgrims for this year's hajj are expected to pay SR616 ($164) which is far less than what was paid last year.
The new policy ensures that only Saudi based limited liability companies with share value of SR500 million will be allowed to transact business with the states. The statement said some states in the North West paid as much as SR4,000 each for an accommodation that cost less than SR2,000 during the 2016 hajj exercise. To worsen the matter, their state governments were made to cough out N335 million to make up for the accommodation short fall. The civil society group said if comprehensively implemented, the new policy will drastically reduce the amount being paid by pilgrims for accommodation and other services.
“This policy will also ensure that pilgrims get a commensurate value for their money. It is our hope that the elimination of middle men from accommodation negotiation will guarantee same quality of accommodation for pilgrims in Madina and Makkah in this year hajj,” the statement said.
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