National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has defended its 2019 budget performance and presented its 2020 budget proposal before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. Senator Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired the annual budgetary exercise that took place in Senate Conference Room 022.
Making his submission, NAHCON Chairman, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad explained that budget performance for 2019 remained at 36.62% by September 2019. It was broken down as follows: sub-total of approved budget for 2019 was N1,079,994,011.50 while the sub-total of budget released stood at N395, 447, 357.36. The latter figure as well represents actual expenditure. The allocation covers only personnel and overhead costs because all other operations of the Commission were independently sponsored through its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). The IGR is expected to rise with its relocation to Hajj House, the Commission’s permanent headquarters, formerly Metro Plaza, Barrister Muhammad explained.
Reacting to the NAHCON CEO’s presentation, Sen. Bulkachuwa commended the Commission for moving into its self acquired office while also seeking further justification on how the Commission intends to run the former plaza being pictured as too large wholly for NAHCON’s operations.
The NAHCON CEO clarified that while the Commission occupies the main building; Annexes B and C will be put up for revenue generation to contribute a projected minimum of N70m yearly.
The NAHCON Chief further made a case for the proposed Hajj Savings Scheme intended to be a multidimensional winning formula for pilgrims, the Commission and federal government as well. The Chairman expressed optimism that approximately few years after rolling of the scheme, NAHCON will not need government’s funding for even personnel and overhead costs but would rather place its staff on a salary scale that would distract them from the revenue that will accrue from the proposed investments.
After listening to the NAHCON Chairman’s detailed exposition, Sen. Bulkachuwa expressed delight that a government agency is having a tenable vision for self-sustenance. He commended the Commission for the this feat being the first time since 1975 that any Hajj body in the country would run its foreign and local operations 100% from its purse without funding from government. He described this achievement as a challenge to others.
Hence, as a mark of reward and commendation to the wonderful job the Commission has accomplished since 2015, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs promised to recommend additional 5% allocation to what NAHCON has already proposed as personnel and overhead costs for 2020 fiscal year. The proposed 2020 figure is N1,074, 057,009.00.
Other members of the Senate Committee, Sen. Ignatius Datong Longjan and Sen. Dimka Hezekiah Ayuba could not hide the fact that they were also impressed and described NAHCON’s blueprint as fantastic. They commended the Chairman for having a formidable team and urged them to carry on the good job.