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Hajj 2018: Nigerian pilgrims to pay more for sacrificial lambs



Hajj 2018: Nigerian pilgrims to pay more for sacrificial lambs

   …as Saudi increases VAT



Pilgrims from Nigeria are to pay more for sacrificial lambs (Hadaya) as Saudi Arabia increases the Value Added Tax (VAT). The upward review of VAT, which also affects pilgrims from other countries, has increased the value to be paid by each pilgrim from Nigeria to N39, 000. Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), which monitors and reports Hajj activities, gave this hint in a document, in which it advised intending pilgrims to pay for their sacrificial lamb (Hadaya) via Jaiz Bank ahead of their trip to the Holy Land.

National co-ordinator, Ibrahim Mohammed, who authored the document added that Jaiz Bank is currently collecting the sum of N39,000 as Hadaya from Nigerian pilgrims on behalf of the Islamic Development Bank, IDB, the institution officially recognized for the purpose. “Pilgrims are advised to take advantage and pay their Hadaya fee ahead their trip because it is both cheaper and more convenient (to do so with Jaiz Bank) especially with the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) by Saudi Arabian authorities this year,” IHR said.

It also said the advice to curb over spending by pilgrims became necessary because from past experiences, pilgrims, especially first timers spend a high portion of their Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), during their stay in Madinah and eventually face serious hardship before the start of return journey back home.

“Besides, pilgrims with excess baggages often have difficulty moving from Madinah to Makkah and could easily be disorganized which will in turn lead them to lose focus of their primary purpose of under taking the spiritual journey,” the statement said. Meanwhile, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has called on pilgrims who paid for biometric data capturing to come forward for refund.

The commission, which said this in a statement by Head, Public Affairs, Fatima Usara, maintained that no fewer than 17,000 intending pilgrims for this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia had been registered in its biometric data capturing system as at July 19. Over 5,000 visas had, NAHCON said, also been issued within the period.

The registration was provided free by the Saudi Arabian authorities for only intending pilgrims, Usara said, adding that any pilgrim who paid for the service should return to the centre for refunds. “Intending pilgrims are also advised, for avoidance of speculations and distrust that there are other biometric data capturing candidates that are not pilgrims but are legitimately travelling to Saudi Arabia for their different purposes,” it said.

The statement said that the data registration was progressing steadily and advised prospective pilgrims to be patient by waiting for their turn before presenting themselves for the exercise. “This is important to maintain orderliness, prevent stress and stick to the arrangement on ground to accommodate specific number of people at a time.”

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