BASIC TRAVEL ALLOWANCE INCLUSIVE IN HAJJ FARE
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and the last but not the least prescribed especially for those who can afford to embark on the religious journey at least once in a life time, as it is an act among many religious acts in Islam that attracts numerous reward in the sight of Allah SWT. Hence, devote Muslim irrespective of gender, race, colour, education/social status can desire to experience this religious act BUT such Muslim/Muslimah who and who believe and have been practising the first four of the pillars, that is, _Iman_ (believing in the Oneness of Allah SWT), Sallat (the five daily prayers), Zakat( alms giving from ones’ wealth to reduce poverty in the land) and Ramadan (fasting 29 or 30days in the month). Then going for this holy pilgrimage is recommendable for such Muslim faithful.
It would be recalled that for about three consecutive years precisely from 2019-2021, this religious rite couldn’t be achieved and be experienced by intending pilgrims due to the Coronavirus pandemic tagged COVID-19 that grounded global activities. This has created a big vacuum and yawning for intending pilgrims to take part in the holy pilgrimage but hold and behold, the reality is that, Hajj is taking place in the year 2022 and airlifting of pilgrims have even started in earnest.
Many intending pilgrims who have deposited their money with National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON through the Hajj Savings Scheme plan have started smiling and excited as reality has done on them that, In Sha’a Allah hajj exercise is taking place as states like Nasarawa, Lagos, FCT Abuja, Maiduguri, Kaduna etc have gotten their pilgrims air lifted to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Pilgrims should not forget that, the first and most paramount thing to take along with then among other things is YAQWA (fear of Allah SWT). Though taking money along to make the spiritual journey easy and confortable can not be underestimated. Hence, the issue of Basic Travel Allowance comes on the table; And this prompted this opinion on the “2022 Hajj Fare Contains $800 Basic Travel Allowance as clarifies by NAHCON.”
NAHCON has said recently in one the its press release, that’s the 2022 hajj fare has a provision for $800(eight hundred dollars) Basic Travel Allowance(BTA) for the pilgrims
A statement signed by the NAHCON’s Assistant Director Public Affairs, Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara announced it that, the hajj fare of maximum N2,496,815.29 (Two million, Four hundred and ninety-six thousand, eight hundred and fifteen Naira, twenty-nine Kobo) or more in some Zones, areas etc is inclusive of the pilgrims $800(eight hundred dollars) Basic Travel Allowance(BTA).
The questions on many people’s lips now are, who and who are the supposed pilgrims? Those flying with government pilgrims welfare boards or those flying with the independent/private carriers? Are the pilgrims aware of this information and package? Perhaps this step of BTA included in the Hajj fare will help reduce the rigorous stressful efforts of pilgrims having to source additional money and making sure they certain expected cash at hand or in their accounts to be taken along then as Basic Travel Allowance to spend.
I’m of the opinion and feel that, it is usually best to have the BTA include be in the Hajj fare as announced by NAHCON, as it will be readily available to be accessed by the pilgrims at any time or point they want to make use of it. If possible, it could have been paid into their bank accounts before departure date for it to be changed to the foreign currency needs if it is paid into the bank accounts in Nigeria currency or the foreign currency be given to the pilgrims in cash at the venue of departure at the various airports.
This I think will invariably help them in the management of their finances. Above all the step taken by NAHCON as announced it is a good step in the right direction if it is sustained and well managed annually.