The Federal Government is to subsidise this year’s Hajj pilgrims with a maximum of N7.9 billion (N7,944,508,970) as against N2. 4 billion (N2,442,000,000) of the previous year, representing a growth of 225.3 per cent.
Vanguard’s investigations revealed that with total Hajj pilgrims of 65,167 for the year 2016 as published by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and a maximum of $1000.00 per pilgrim, the total foreign exchange entitled to the pilgrims amounted to sixty five million, one hundred and sixty seven thousand dollars ($65,167,000).
Therefore, when $ 65,167,000 is multiplied with the difference between the Foreign Exchange, (Forex) market (N318.9 per dollar ) and the concessionary exchange rate of ( N197 per dollar), that is N121.91 per dollar, it would amount to N7.9 billion (N7,944,508,970) , while with a minimum of $750 per dollar for each pilgrim, it would amount to N5.9 billion ( N5, 958,381,727).
Further findings on the 2016 pilgrims for the top ten states showed that Kano state with total pilgrims of 5,808 had the highest entitlement with subsidy of N708,053 million followed by Kaduna state with 5,649 pilgrims with subsidy of N688.6 million.
They are to purchase a minimum of $750.00 and a maximum of $ 1,000.00 as Purchase of Pilgrims Travelling Allowance, PTA. The CBN in a circular issued on Thursday to all Authorised Dealers and General public, sistated that the Federal Government has approved that intending pilgrims are to be sold the PTA at a concessionary exchange rate of N197.00 to the US dollar.
According to the circular:
“No commission shall be charged by the banks for the sale of PTA to the intending pilgrims; The CBN shall sale the PTA to the designated banks in Lagos and Abuja and the accounts of the respective banks shall be debited as soon as the funds are disbursed.”
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