2024 Hajj Tour Operators Decry Lack Of Govt Support

Nigeria trash Burkina Faso

As the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) intensifies airlift of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2024 hajj, the Association of Hajj and Umrah Operators of Nigeria (AHUON) has complained that its members risk  being out of business if they continue to lack support from government.

National vice president of AHOUN, Abuja Zone, Alhaji Usman Ambursa, in a chat with LEADERSHIP Sunday yesterday said the atmosphere is not conducive for hajj service providers, particularly tour operators.

He said hajj and umrah operators are employers of labour and big contributors to Nigeria’s GDP and government should create an enabling environment for them to operate.

“There is a lot the government can do to improve the hajj industry in Nigeria.

“There should be a level playing field for us to operate because we are employers of labour and taxpayers. There is no travel agency that partakes in hajj and umrah service in Nigeria that doesn’t have at least three to five staff working for it. Also there is no tour operator in Nigeria’s hajj industry that doesn’t pay five to seven million naira as tax to FIRS. Some of us are paying between six and seven million as tax depending on your turnover.

“So, we contribute a lot to the federal government and get nothing in return from the government. What service is the government providing for us, nothing? We are not enjoying anything from the government,” Ambursa said.

He said hajj and umrah is highly dollarised and capital intensive and therefore appealed to the federal government to provide forex subsidy to service providers.

“Hajj is highly capital intensive and no matter how much one has in hands may not be enough to arrange for 100 passengers in Saudi Arabia.So, the government used to support us with subsidies for forex but what we are seeing now is different. For instance, last year dollars were given to us at the rate of N460 against N780 to N800 in the black market.”

Nobody had a package of N3m last year because of the support we got from the government in the forex window and that gave opportunity to more people to pay and we had more passengers. We have 20,000 allocation for this year’s hajj, but we won’t be able to achieve 13,000 at the end of the day due to lack of support from the government.”





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