• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Hajj operators want members included in COVID-19 palliatives


The Association of Hajj and Umrah Operators of Nigeria (AHUON), one of the key players in the travel and tour sector of the economy, has called on the Federal Government to include its members as beneficiaries of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N50 billion COVID-19 palliatives. The palliatives are meant for hoteliers, airlines, service providers and health merchants.

Abdullaziz Halliru Kafinsoli, chairman of the Kano zonal office of the association, made this disclosure while interacting with a delegation of the Correspondents ‘Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, in Kano.

The body said that the inclusion is imperative as its members have suffered economic loss amounting to several millions of billions of naira, as a result of the suspension of flights into Saudi Arabia by Saudi authorities.

It would be recalled that the CBN has set aside N50 billion to be disbursed through the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to support business owners such as hoteliers, airlines, service providers,  among others.

Justifying its request, Kafinsoli stated that the association`s members are entitled to partake in the CBN incentive considering the huge amount of revenue they generate for the Federal Government.

“We have gone through the CBN N50 billion incentive offer, but we are not all that optimistic about benefitting from it because we have not been consulted.

“The Federal Government should consider our members because we are the worse hit in this COVID-19 problem. When policies like this are made, our members should be captured considering the amount of turnover and revenue we generate for the Federal Government through our business”, he explained.

Also commenting on the new leadership in place at National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Kafinsoli said that his body is delighted with the new development, promising that the members of his association are ever ready to work hand-in-hand with the new leadership of NAHCON for smooth airlift of pilgrims to the Holy Land.

“We thank God that the new leadership of NAHCON came at a time when we have all these challenges, and they have agreed to work with us. We are ready to give them maximum support and cooperation,” he said.

Kafinsoli, however, urged pilgrims who had already registered before the suspension of the Hajj exercise by Saudi authorities not to panic, as measures have already been put in place to ensure that their expenses are adequately protected.

The body assured people who have already booked flights with our members that they are not going to lose their money.

“Once the suspension is lifted, they will make use of their tickets. We are working round the clock to ensure that they will be duly compensated and we are happy that the Saudi authorities are cooperating with us in this regard,” he added.