Again, FG clarifies approved forex rate for pilgrimage

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, again, said what it did in the forex approval for this year’s pilgrimage was to allow the exchange rate prevalent at the time of payment of Hajj fare in February when the current flexible exchange rate was not activated to subsist.

The clarification came amidst continuing controversy over the approval.

It was a follow-up to earlier clarifications made on the matter by the spokesman of the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON), Uba Mana, as well as the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

On Tuesday, the chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, provided more insight into the government’s decision.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had announced that Mukhtar was dispatched by the Presidency to throw more light on the matter during a live broadcast of special town hall meeting/policy dialogue on the implementation of the 2016 Budget organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) in Abuja.

Mukhtar said that the rate had been approved before the current foreign exchange regime came into effect.

He disclosed that transaction was sealed with the Central Bank of Nigeria on March 18 this year to use the then prevailing rate for the pilgrimage.

According to him, it took up to five months to prepare for the pilgrimage and the decision taken when the new forex exchange rate was not yet in existence, and when intending pilgrims had already made payments which were domiciled in the apex bank.