By Bashir Bello
The Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Zikrullah Kunle Hassan and Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has on Sunday told intending pilgrims of the Hajj exercise who are mostly are cattle rearers that they don’t have to sell off or dispose of their assets such as livestock and others to pay for hajj with the introduction of a new initiative, Hajj Saving Scheme.
The duo disclosed this during the launching of the pilot phase of the Hajj Saving Scheme, HSS in Kano State on Sunday.
The NAHCON boss also hinted that the scheme, which is the first of it kind in the continent, if implemented, offers subsidy and a great opportunity to reduce the cost of Hajj to the intending pilgrim’s to the holy Land, Saudi Arabia.
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According to him, “It must be emphasized here that the Scheme, when fully implemented, will among others, have domino effects in the following ways:- To safeguard the intending pilgrims against fraudster as you know, the traditional savings methods mostly in use especially in rural areas is fraught with lots of risks and hardship caused by marauders, thieves or even natural disasters like fire outbreak
“Similarly, intending pilgrims no longer need to sell-off or dispose of their lives savings or assets, nor would they rely on their well to do relations to be able to pay for Hajj anymore. It also provides reliable and accurate data for effective and efficient service delivery as well as enhanced advance planning for accommodation, feeding and airlift operations.
“The scheme also has the benefit to provide economic power to Muslims to lift them out of poverty, Job creation through pockets of portfolio investments, aligned Nigeria’s Hajj system to a global standard and boost the country’s Gross Domestic, GDP.
“This novel Scheme also gives intending pilgrims/depositors various options in which they can participate or be enrolled.”
Zikrullah added that “Today, we stand on the threshold of history, as the journey of over 10 years has come to a fruitful climax. There is no gainsaying that the formal launching of Bank led HSS is the first of its kind in our sub-region as no Hajj Mission in the entire continent has to my knowledge and institutional scheme of this nature.
“On this note, I want to congratulate the Board, Management and staff of NAHCON particularly those in the HSS Division for their commitment towards the actualization of one of our major policy thrust which has been on the front burner over the years.
“Upon our inauguration in February 2020, my Board declared our intention to change the narrative of Hajj, especially the escalating cost of Hajj, by making it affordable to a large number of our people. The beginning of that aspiration is what we are gathered here to witness today.
“It is with a deep feeling of pride therefore that I hereby announce to you the official launch and commencement of Bank-led Hajj Savings Scheme which marks the commencement of transition from analogue to digital, in line with global best practices and standard. Since we all believe that the future of Hajj lies in a digital-driven financial system, a functional financial system like the HSS is apt as it will set off a chain of opportunities and nationwide economic activities,” the NAHCON Boss stated.
Similarly, Ganduje commended the NAHCON for the laudable initiative which he described as revolutionary to make pilgrims perform Hajj with ease.
The Governor directed the Kano Pilgrims board to commence preparation for the 2021 Hajj by collecting the deposit from the intending pilgrims.
Earlier, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar ll, represented by the Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero called on all Muslim ummahs to key into the scheme in order to answer the call of Almighty Allah and fulfil one of the pillars of Islam saying the Royal fathers and elders had thrown their weight and support behind the scheme fully.
However, the implementing bank of the scheme, Managing Director of Jaiz Bank, Hassan Usman expressed its readiness to drive the process and support the scheme with best technology-driven services for better and more affordable scheme nationwide.