President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy on foreign exchange is principally aimed at earning more FOREX for the economy; but for Hajj.
In this light, the President’s policies has focused on measures that’ll cut outflow of FOREX, particularly the US dollars.
That the president has ordered the Central Bank to sell dollars at a discounted rate of N197 to a dollar is no news.
CBN has issued a directive along that line.
According to CBN, “Each pilgrim is entitled to purchase a minimum of $750.00 and maximum of US$1,000.00 as Personal Travel Allowance, 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 PTA to the intending pilgrims.
The CBN shall sell 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.
“Each designated bank is required to sell to the CBN the unutilized funds not later than two weeks from the date of the last inward flight to Nigeria from Jedda.
“While the account of the bank shall be credited promptly.
Now here is the news: according to The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Saudi Arabia approved a Hajj quota of 76,000 pilgrims for Nigeria.
The Kingdom approved 66,000 slots for pilgrims from government quota and 10,000 for pilgrims coming through private tour operators.
The naira is trading for N395 to $1 in the black market while the official rate closed at N315.06 to the dollar in the interbank market.
In other words, the Buhari administration is paying for more than 60% of the entire Hajj pilgrims (according to official exchange rates).
When we factor in the black market exchange rates, then we see a nearly 100% payment.
Now here is the question: why won’t the federal government give discounts to parents whose wards school abroad?
Why not discount the dollars for these since it will better the lot of ordinary Nigerians?
The president had told us that “Religion is a private matter. Government will no longer sponsor pilgrimages.”
In the face of CBN’s directive, the president has once again lied to Nigerians.
The Federal Government is indeed sponsoring people for Hajj.