NAHCON urges more collaboration among Hajj-participating countries

Discussion session.

NAHCON urges more collaboration among Hajj-participating countries

Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, the Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has called for more collaboration among Hajj participating countries, especially among those with numerical strength.

The chairman who is in the Republic of Indonesia on the invitation of the Indonesian (Sovereign) Hajj Fund Management Agency to mark its 4th International Hajj Conference, made the call Friday.

This was disclosed in a press release made available to Neptune Prime by NAHCON’s Assistant Director, Fatima Sanda Usara.

The conference came up on Friday, 7th October from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Indonesian time (-6 hours GMT). Alhaji Zikrullah participated as a discussant among a panel of four speakers who deliberated on the theme of the event; “Digitalisation and Inclusivity of Hajj Ecosystem”.

The one-day conference was organised as part of activities marking the Indonesian Sharia Economic Festival sponsored by Bank Indonesia and BPKH (the Hajj fund management body of Indonesia).

At the reception organised in honour of NAHCON Chairman.

While expatiating on the theme of this year’s conference, Dr Anggito Abimanyu, Chairman of the Executive Board of BPKH expressed confidence that digitalisation has and will promote accountability in the management of Hajj funds whilst improving Hajj services.

He called on participants to brainstorm on the potentials of digitisation of Hajj finance that are yet to be explored as well as sharing experiences on challenges.

Abimanyu urged every Hajj mission across the world to establish digital systems that would be a link to their operations to enable access to services and finance. This, he said will promote connectivity through which the people will be the main beneficiaries.

He revealed that the digitisation of Hajj fund management in Indonesia is providing equal access to people who might have been otherwise excluded.

Discussions during the 4th International Hajj Conference were held under two sessions. The first session in which the NAHCON Chairman participated centred on digitisation and inclusivity at the government level. The afternoon session dwelt on Hajj and Umrah digitalisation and practicality for tour operators, Hajj missions, and financial institutions.

Responding to a question by the moderator, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan agreed that Covid-19 has taught the world a new way of doing things through digitisation. NAHCON having accepted this reality led to its program of digital transformation which is still being upgraded.

He agreed that with digitalisation, Hajj management can be better.

On the Hajj management fund system, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan said “under the Covid-19 lockdown, NAHCON rolled out the Hajj Savings Scheme and despite the challenges, the scheme was able to raise about N12 million as an investment in just two years. Therefore, if that amount could be gathered under Covid-19, there are prospects that more can be done under a vibrant economy.”

He commended the Indonesian Hajj fund management system, BPKH for stabilising Hajj fare for five years consecutively and despite the Covid-19 cash crunch, BPKH subsidised Hajj fare for its pilgrims up to 59%.

Alhaji Zkrullah identified key areas that Hajj management should improve on such as more collaboration among Hajj participating countries, especially among those with numerical strength. He called for more cooperation among them so as to interface with Saudi Arabia on matters of negotiation and in contributing to the Hajj management system by way of exchanging ideas, getting timely information that would enable countries to plan for Hajj five years in advance etc.

NAHCON and BPKH thereafter signed a letter of intent to collaborate in matters of Hajj management.

Signing of letter of intent.

Also, an Indonesian digital app, IKHSAN was launched. The app involves Hajj and Hajj finance management in Indonesia.

Earlier, the NAHCON Chairman’s team met with his counterpart, Dr Abimanyu for an honorary reception.