The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has approved Nigeria’s government demand to increase the 2024 Hajj slots of Tour Operators from 10 to 40.
Recall that in a change of policy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had announced in September that only 5% of each Hajj-participating country’s Licensed Tour Operators would be permitted to conduct the 2024 Hajj exercise. This translated to only 10 slots from Nigeria.
However, the federal government of Nigeria unrelentingly engaged the Saudi Ministry over its course of promoting indigenous entrepreneurs as a tool in sustaining the country’s socioeconomic development.
In honour, the Saudi Ministry in charge of Hajj and Umrah rescinded the decision in Nigeria’s favour.
Consequently, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), which announced this through a press statement released on Sunday night in Abuja by its assistant director of public affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, had laid down criteria in screening the earlier announced 110 qualified tour operators.
The parameters used in selecting the initial 110 tour operators included capacity of operation; years of experience; historical antecedents, and clean bill of operation.
The commission added that having evaluated each operator’s ability, experience, and quality of services, the top 40 scoring by a seven-man team of experts were adjudged to qualify and were consequently approved.
However, in the spirit of business partnership, the Commission encouraged the remaining 70 that have qualified (from the 110 earlier approved) to consider aligning with the qualified 40 in the discharge of this religious obligation.
The Commission assured that, as a stakeholder, it was desirous of ensuring that this partnership was entrenched even before the issuance of letters of approval.
Therefore, and in the principle of inclusivity, the Commission will soon hold a meeting with the overall 110 qualified operators in order to explore avenues of synergy to ensure all parties are carried along amicably.