NAHCON CHAIRMAN RECEIVES GUESTS IN HAJJ HOUSE
NAHCON CHAIRMAN RECEIVES GUESTS IN HAJJ HOUSE
By Fatima Sanda Usara
The NAHCON Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Barr. Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad hosted guests who made working and friendly visits to the Commission’s head office in the previous weeks.
Most of the visits were in felicitation with the Commission for moving into the Hajj House and to partner with NAHCON on a number of issues. One of the areas of interest in the calls was the Hajj Savings Scheme, which is gathering momentum with organizations from within and outside the country expressing interest with an eagerness to partner in its operation. The program when fully operational, according to former staff of NAHCON and former Head of the NAHCON Hajj Savings Scheme, Ahmad Sani, will open investment windows in the agro-allied sector, air transport industry, housing, health and energy/power sectors.
Towards the success of this scheme, NAHCON, represented by its Director of Admin and Human Resources, Dr Ibrahim M. Sodangi, attended a world conference on Hajj funds management in Indonesia. Dr. Sodangi participated in one of the discussions titled, Global Islamic Finance and Hajj Fund Management.
In the same vein, some members of NAHCON ate set to Malaysia under the sponsorship of Islamic Development Bank, towards setting a resilient base for the running of the savings scheme. Below is a brief diary of some of the visits to the NAHCON Chairman
Representatives of Taj Bank, an Islamic non-interest banking institution with headquarters in Abuja paid a working visit to the Commission in its head office. Led by the Managing Director, Mr Norfedelizan AbdulRahman, the delegation declared interest in partnering with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria in the Hajj Savings Scheme venture in Nigeria. The M.D described the initiative as timely and assured of deploying its expertise gathered from operating a similar program known as the Malaysian Tabung Hajj. He explained that with the high success rate recorded under the Tabung hajj, it eventually opened its own bank. The team also made enquiries on Hadaya and offered advice on the need of introducing a cashless Basic Traveling Allowance System, which the bank would be ready to facilitate.
In his response, the NAHCON Chairman welcomed the team and explained that many conventional banks have also declared interest in a partnering with the Commission on the scheme. Being an Islamic financing institution, the Chairman discerned that this is an added advantage to the Taj Bank and advised the group to send a written proposal so that feasibility studies may be carried out. He informed the group that it is part of the Commission’s plan to make the Hajj Savings scheme versatile in such a way that it can borrow, for instance, the Tabung Hajj concept and redesign it to suit the Nigerian context.
Finally, Mr AbdulRahman congratulated the Commission for moving into its awesome edifice and promised to assist the Commission in any way it can.
A delegation from Ja’iz Bank PLC also paid the Hajj Commission a courtesy visit to felicitate with NAHCON management on its movement to Hajj House and a follow-up Hajj Savings Scheme. The bank management was also discussed other financial matters of interest to both parties. Managing Director of the Bank, Hassan Usman, prayed The Almighty to reward the Chairman for leading the effort for acquiring the Hajj House as a step towards autonomy of the Commission
In another development, the Vice Chancellor (V.C) of Bayero University Kano (BUK) was also in the Hajj House for a friendly visit to discuss strengthening of partnership between the two institutions. In his presentation, the V.C reminded the Chairman of the established history of scholarship the University is endowed with. The V.C traced areas where BUK has always excelled to include Islamic Banking and Finance, research in the field of Hajj management and others. In his response, the NAHCON Chairman welcomed the delegation describing the time as overdue to now put discussions on establishment of Hajj Management Institute into practice. He expressed confidence that the future of Hajj will be brighter if Hajj specialists are deployed in managing the industry, adding the fear that if novices are allowed to learn on the job like currently being practiced in Nigeria, the Hajj industry risks falling into the hands of a people who may overturn all the successes recorded over time. This picture, the two personalities agreed, would be costly. And with the proposed Hajj Savings Scheme only awaiting administrative procedures to take off, Hajj management needs knowledgeable people in Islamic financing and Hajj management to weather the storm. Barrister Muhammad informed the gathering that a University in England is already understudying the possibility of running a PhD in Hajj Management. He therefore called for collaboration between BUK, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and NAHCON in running the program that will be self-funded.
The two institutions therefore agreed to actualize the program in collaboration with ABU, Zaria. The V.C concluded that BUK is proud to be associated with NAHCON.
FOLIO PRODUCTIONS/DAILY TIMES
Among those that paid courtesy visits to the Commission are members of Folio Communications plc, publishers of Daily Times newspaper. Leader of the delegation, Mr. Abdulmuminu S. Balogun, eulogized the paper as the longest surviving newspaper in Nigeria. Established in 1925, leader of the group explained that the medium has a rich achive for research and documentation purposes. He described these as handy tools for the Commission in view of the excellent job the Hajj management is recording. Some of those areas of excellence identified by the paper include creating competition among Private Tour Operators, which has helped in raising standard of their services to pilgrims compared to the past. They commended the Hajj House acquisition describing it as awesome in every standard. The group commended the Commission for successfully running its 2019 operations without government funding. This came after the NAHCON Chairman informed them of the feat, declaring that this achievement has belied those describing pilgrimage as parasite on government.
Mr. Balogun offered the paper’s platform as a channel through which the Commission can propagate its laudable programs especially to enlighten the public on the Hajj Savings Scheme package and others. The group made further enquiries on the scheme and how the Commission plans to sustain it.
The Chairman explained that a board of Trustees comprising Nigerians of proven integrity shall manage the funds and NAHCON has a short term plan, medium and long term projections.
The NAHCON Boss thanked the delegation for their kind words and promised to work together in the interest of Nigerian pilgrims that need to be kept informed. He urged the publishers to maintain the legacy of its founding fathers and also advised them to contribute their best in making the nation great.
A delegation from National Anti-Corruption Marathon was also at the Hajj House for a courtesy visit. Represented by Director Administration and Human Resources, Dr Ibrahim Sodangi, the Chairman promised that members of the Commission will participate in the anti corruption activities He as well promised to support the crusade in any way possible. The delegation was led by its CEO, Mr Jacob Onu.
The marathon, which comes up on the 4th of December each year, is to create awareness on the dangers of corruption to existence of societies.
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