The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has concluded arrangement to establish Hajj Savings and Investment Scheme to assist intending pilgrims to perform Hajj through installment or part payment.
The Executive Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
Muhammad said the scheme, if established, would ensure financial autonomy for the commission.
He explained that the scheme would be run like micro-finance institution, saying that the money from such savings will be invested in specific projects and profits shared in line with Islamic principles.
The chairman further explained that under the scheme Muslims will be able to perform hajj when their savings are reasonable and sufficient.
Muhammad said: “The commission by the provision of the Act is looking at the possibility of rolling out what we call ‘Hajj Savings and Investment Scheme’, which will be like a Micro-finance outfit.
“Through the scheme intending pilgrims will be paying for their hajj installmentally within a short or long period of time and the money will be invest into the Nigerian economy.
“By the end of the day the pilgrim, who invests will have portion of the profit to augment or balance up his or her hajj and the commission will also get some benefits.
“Similarly, the State Pilgrims Welfare Board or any agency that register the pilgrim will also get some benefits.
“Our target at the end of the day will be a win-win situation as intending pilgrims will be paying their hajj without too much stress.”
According to Muhammad, one of the advantages of the scheme is that savings will be commensurate with one’s income and it will in turn create employment opportunities in the country.
The chairman said that NAHCON would do everything within its mandate to ensure that hajj, as a religious obligation, is no longer a drain on the government coffers.
Muhammad said the concept of the scheme is largely to encourage inward looking by religious agencies on how best they can effectively manage their affairs without depending totally on government.
Also, the NAHCON boss said discussion is under way between Saudi authorities and the commission toward fostering partnership in some strategic areas of human endeavour for mutual benefits.
He said: “We should not just embark on pilgrimage to spend money but we should also explore the possibility of bringing something of economic value back to the country.”