The National Hajj Commission NAHCON, has organized a three days retreat for its Board members, Directors, staff as well as other stakeholders in the Hajj and Umrah industries.
Declaring the even open today 26th November at the Yankari Game reserve in Bauchi, Chairman/CEO of the commission Alhaji Zikhrullah Kunnle Hassan welcomed all the signaries there present.
Alhaji Kunle Hassan who gave the theme of the retreat is “The Anatomy of a Successful Hajj Financial and Logistic Planning” for the Executives and Management Staff of the Commission, said the historic event at the city of Bauchi today marks an important milestone in the history of the Commission.
According to him, this strategic retreat will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss and brainstorm on the emerging challenges arising from the dynamic operating environment of the global economic meltdown.
“It is in the light of this that, for the first time, we have invited external stakeholders, especially, the operators in the Hajj to share their knowledge and experience with us. It is also a chance for us to look with new eyes alternative way of generating revenue without impacting negatively on the purse of pilgrims in the face of dwindling government revenue and the increasing Tax rates and service charge in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.
“Therefore, this retreat must find a solution to translate our dreams and objectives of the affordable cost of Hajj into reality and no place and time are better than here and now.
The serene environment provided by Yankari Games Resort will allow us to de-stress ourselves from the hustle and bustle of Abuja, and away from our usual daily routine”.
The chairman also draws the attention of all to the fact that the conduct of Hajj affairs in Nigeria has witnessed numerous challenges over the years. At some point in the past, payment of Hajj Fare does not necessarily guarantee an intending pilgrim will be able to travel to the Holy Land, while those who succeeded spent many days and hours at departure Centers. Some even get stranded and had to be evacuated by the Federal or State Government back home.
However, a lot of these challenges have been solved and eliminated from the Nigerian Hajj lexicon and normalcy can be said to have returned, he, therefore, called that all hands must be on deck to ensure the continuity of these achievements.
The Chairman also appreciate the past leadership of the Commission where he said;
“On this note, I want to seize this opportunity to pay tributes to those men and women who have held the levers of Hajj Administration in the Country, especially the two immediate past Chairmen of the Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in persons of Alhaji Muhammad Musa Bello and Barr. Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad MON, FCIA whose dedications, selflessness’ and commitments led to many giant strides the Commission had achieved in the last decade”.
On the 2020 hajj, this is what he has to say;
“As you’re all aware, the year 2020 is an imaginary year which brought up unthinkable events/issues, globally and nationally. We will not forget in a hurry the horrible effect of the Covid-19 pandemic which denied us and the entire Muslim World outside Saudi Arabia the opportunity to participate in the Pilgrimage this year”.
“The psychological and financial effect on us will take time to properly heal”.
The chairman also unveils plans by the commission for more laudable project that will make the running of Hajj easier than it was.
“You may wish to recall that during our Inauguration, our Board unfolded a 5-point Mission Statement among which were to make Hajj Fare affordable for Nigerian Muslims; develop a plan of action by which Nigerian Pilgrims will spend a lesser number of days in the Holy Land; implementation of Hajj Saving Schemes (HSS); take-off of the Hajj Training Institute and acquisition of property in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To achieve these Mandates effectively and efficiently, a vibrant and efficient workforce is needed. So, one of the reasons we are here today is one way of achieving all these objectives”.
“I am, however, pleased to state that a lot has been achieved so far in this direction. The Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) was formally launched in Kano State on 4th October 2020 at the Hajj Demonstration Centre, Kano. It is heartwarming that all the states have agreed to key into the Scheme and very soon the Scheme will be launched in Sokoto, Lagos, and other parts of Nigeria. It is part of our determination to make sure that the scheme offers us the succor we desire in terms of reduction in Hajj Fare and other sundry benefits to the Pilgrims, Zakat for the Ummah, and Tax revenue for the Government.
Our effort to professionalize the Hajj Industry through the Hajj Training Institute is on course”.
” We have tendered our application to the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for Accreditation and Licensing. We are determined to make sure that, the Institute takes off very soon”.
“The Board has also begun the journey towards holistic transformation of the Commission through staff motivation by way of striking to positively affect their remuneration and benefits to inject effectiveness and efficiency into our developmental planning”.
“The Board has also commenced Digital transformation of our activities from manual to digital to enabled us to become part of the global family Much in the same way as our other objectives, we believe that we would have completed this feat before the expiration of our tenure”.
“A bigger plank of our aim is to acquire a befitting edifice in Makkah, Saudi Arabia which will serve as our corporate office as well as revenue yielding investment just like our Corporate Headquarters in Abuja. We are quite aware of the enormous responsibility this would put on us, but I want to assure you that with your support and cooperation, this Board will achieve that objective”.
While declaring the days event open, the Chairman encouraged the participants to spare a thought and take positive steps to find solutions to the nagging problem of how to achieve affordable Hajj fare in the face of global gloom and inflation so that they can bring succor to tho who intend to perform Hajj in an atmosphere of ease and comfort.