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Mutfwang allocates N155million for religious tourism to Saudi Arabia

Plateau Governor grants state pardon to 13 prisoners
Daiyabu Daudu, the Executive Secretary of Plateau State Pilgrim Welfare Board has said that Caleb Mutfwang, the state governor has allocated the sum of 155 million naira towards facilitating the pilgrimage process for religious tourism to Saudi Arabia.
Daudu who started this in an interview with Journalists in Jos also expressed gratitude for the financial support, noting that the money has already been distributed to the intended pilgrims, a move expected to facilitate their pilgrimage this year as they take off Tuesday from Bauchi, citing the assistance as a timely intervention that is greatly appreciated by the pilgrims.
Moreover, Daudu shed light on additional support extended by the state governor towards fortifying the operations of the Pilgrim Welfare Board. He said recognizing the challenges faced by the board in terms of its operational capacity and infrastructure, the governor proposed seeking a loan.
In November of the previous year, both the executive council and the House of Assembly approved a loan totalling 2 billion nairas, acquired from the United Bank for Africa (UBA). The borrowed funds were earmarked to secure all designated slots allocated to the board by the National Hajj Commission.
Further elaborating on the financial arrangements, Daudu revealed that a decision was made by the government to have the pilgrims bear the initial interest on the loan, a measure aimed at defraying costs and ensuring financial sustainability. To date, the board has successfully repaid 1.6 billion naira of the loan amount, with plans in place to settle the outstanding balance by the end of June.
“He gave the money out to the tune of 155 million. We have given out to the pilgrims and most of them will go this year, thank God for the intervention. Another thing the governor did to the board is that seeing the condition and the nature of the board, he said we should look for a loan which around November last year the executive council approved and the House of Assembly also approved a loan of 2 billion naira.
” We got the loan from UBA and used it to secure all the slot given to us by National Hajj Commission. The government decided to say, okay, the pilgrims should pay the initial money interest prepared by the government and they have started paying it. So far we have paid the loan to the tune of N1.6 billion, and we will finish it  by June. I think by June ending we will finish both the loan and the interest”.
He expressed optimism regarding the timely repayment of both the principal loan and the accrued interest, highlighting the prudent financial management strategies employed by the board.
In addition to the financial support, Daudu emphasized the critical need for operational vehicles within the Pilgrim Welfare Board saying, responding to this essential requirement, the governor approved the allocation of 70 million naira towards procuring operational vehicles for officials. Notably, the board acquired a vehicle specifically tailored for use in Saudi Arabia, a key location for the pilgrimage.
Furthermore, an additional 5 million naira was designated for the repair and refurbishment of existing vehicles that had previously broken down, effectively restoring them to operational status.
“And another thing is that we complained to him that we don’t have vehicles, most especially operational vehicles for the officials, and he approved the sum of  70 million for the operational vehicles. We also bought one that is used in Saudi Arabia. He also gave us N5 million to repair the other vehicles that were broken down and we got them back to use”; he added.
Daudu commended the governor’s responsiveness to the challenges faced by the board, expressing gratitude for the timely interventions and financial provisions that have bolstered the board’s operational capabilities.
The investments made by the Plateau State government underscore its commitment to enhancing the functionality and efficiency of the Pilgrim Welfare Board in facilitating pilgrimage activities for citizens.
With these recent developments, the Pilgrim Welfare Board is well-positioned to execute its mandate of facilitating pilgrimages effectively and efficiently, positioning itself as a key player in promoting religious tourism and cultural exchange for citizens in Plateau State and beyond.