Federal Government clarifies Dollar subsidy for pilgrims

The Federal Government has clarified that the subsidized exchange rate was approved for all pilgrims.

In other words, the subsidy was both for Muslim and Christian Pilgrims.

A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, clarified this.

According to Shehu, “The exchange rate of N197:00 to a Dollar was approved by the President about three months ago.

“This was much earlier before the new FOREX regime came into being.

“The Chairman of the Hajj Commission has confirmed that it is non-discriminatory.

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“It was approved for Christian and Muslim pilgrimages for this year. The CBN has offered an explanation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had given a directive to wit: “Each pilgrim is entitled to purchase a minimum of $750.00 and maximum of US$1,000.00 as PTA.

“The Federal Government has approved that intending pilgrims are to be sold the PTA at a concessionary exchange rate of N197.00 to the US dollar.

“No commission shall be charged by the banks for the sale of the PTA to the intending pilgrims.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria shall sale the PTA to the designated banks in Lagos and Abuja and the accounts of the respective banks shall be debited as soon as the funds are disbursed.”

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A similar CBN circular, signed by O. L. Ahuchogu on behalf of the director, “The Federal Government has approved the purchase of a maximum of $1000 at concessionary rate of N160 to the dollar by each intending pilgrim as personal travel allowance.

“Consequently each pilgrim travelling to Israel is entitled to maximum of $750, while those going to Israel/Rome or Greece are entitled to a maximum of $1000.

We call on the Federal Government to extend the largess to parents whose children are genuinely schooling abroad.