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A delegation comprising members of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, and representatives from the Forum for State Pilgrims Welfare Boards has arrived in Indonesia on a study tour to the offices of the Badan Pengolola Keuangan Haji (BPKH), Managers of Hajj Funds in Indonesia; for a better understanding of their mode of operations in critical areas like the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) and the other regions of Hajj management.In a press release by Fatima Sanda Usara, an Assistant Director, Public Affairs, in the Commission, the delegation is under the leadership of NAHCON’s Commissioner for Policy, Personnel Management and Finance, Alhaji Nura Hassan Yakassai. It shall be in Indonesia for a week. The study tour is part of a 2019, sponsorship provided by the Islamic Development Bank in support of the promotion of Hajj fund management under Islamic finance for the benefit of intending pilgrims and capacity-building for personnel of NAHCON. It could not hold until now because of the world pandemic.

At a ceremony marking the commencement of the study tour program, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency, Ambassador Usman Ari Ogah, admonished the NAHCON team to be ready to learn from BPKH’s successes in the fields of Hajj finance and management, mosque management system and Islamic social support schemes. According to him, Hajj should not be perceived as only a religious affair but as well as a financial window, where Muslims can benefit from the financial benefits that may be accrued. He tasked NAHCON to ensure through Nigeria’s Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) she develops a system of wealth creation and distribution to positively impact the economic well-being of Nigeria’s Muslim community.Dr Angitto Abimanyu, the Chairman of BPKH in a welcome remark, appreciates the cordial relationships between NAHCON and BPKH and harped on the need for the two bodies to be meeting regularly to learn from each other on how to improve service delivery to pilgrims which is a common goal for the two organizations. He warmly welcomed the delegation while reiterating the fact that Nigeria and Indonesia have shared bilateral relationships in several other aspects of human endeavour aside from the Hajj matters. Responding, Alhaji Yakassai, the head of the delegation, accentuates why the delegation is in Indonesia which includes seeking strong collaboration with BPKH on the Commission’s hajj savings scheme, learning from Indonesia, the Hajj queuing system as practised in the country, understanding the latest technology advancement in Hajj management and exchange of ideas by way of comparison of operational notes on Hajj operations. He thanked the BPKH team for the warm welcome and prayed for successful deliberation.BPKH is Indonesia’s equivalent of Nigeria’s HSS officially took off on July 26th, 2017. According to a report, BPKH had since then recorded a steady increase in managed Hajj funds. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and economic contraction in 2020, the balance of Hajj funds managed by BPKH was Rp143.1 trillion, from Rp124.32 trillion in 2019, an increase of 15.08 per cent. “This achievement also exceeded the managed fund target set by BPKH in 2020 of Rp139.5 trillion.” By 2022, the organization realized 10-11 Billion Dollars in returns in investment which it used to subsidize 2022 by 59% (the pilgrims paid 2, 611 Dollars while the actual cost of the year’s Hajj was 6,411 Dollars).

The NAHCON delegation was received and hosted by the Director General of Hajj and Umrah Ministry, Mr Hilman Lateef. The day’s activities were round-up with a dinner in honour of the delegation courtesy of Nigeria’s Ambassador to Indonesia.

Abdulfattah Abdussalam

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