NAHCON: No FOREX waiver for pilgrims

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pilgrims performing evening prayers in Mecca's Grand Mosque in 2013
pilgrims performing evening prayers in Mecca’s Grand Mosque in 2013

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Sunday debunked rumour that the Federal Government had offered foreign exchange waiver  to the 2016 Intending Pilgrims.

The commission’s Head of Media, Alhaji Uba Mana, made the denial in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

“ The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria wishes to draw the attention of the general public that the Federal Government has not given foreign exchange waiver to Nigerian pilgrims performing this year’s Hajj.

“If there is one thing that the Government did for the Nigerian pilgrims was to allow the exchange rate prevalent at the time of payment of Hajj fares in February.

“That was when the current flexible exchange rate was not in action to subsist,’’ Mana said.

He  said that it was wrong and mischievous for some persons or media organisations to peddle unfounded claims that the federal government gave the Nigerian pilgrims a waiver.

“ This to us smacks of an attempt to blackmail the Federal Government,’’ he added.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in a circular last week  directed banks and authorised forex dealers to sell the Pilgrims Travelling Allowance, PTA, to intending pilgrims at a concessionary exchange rate of N197 to $1.

“Each pilgrim is entitled to purchase a minimum of $750.00 and maximum of US$1,000.00 as PTA. The Federal Government has approved that intending pilgrims are to be sold the PTA at a concessionary exchange rate of N197.00 to the US dollar.

“No commission shall be charged by the banks for the sale of the PTA to the intending pilgrims. The Central Bank of Nigeria shall sale the PTA to the designated banks in Lagos and Abuja and the accounts of the respective banks shall be debited as soon as the funds are disbursed….,” the CBN said.


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