Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has approved Nigeria’s government demand to increase the 2024 Hajj slots of tour operators from 10 to 40.

In a change of policy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had announced in September that only five percent of each hajj-participating country’s licensed tour operators would be permitted to conduct the 2024 hajj exercise. This translated to only 10 from Nigeria.

However, the federal government of Nigeria engaged the Saudi Ministry over the country’s course of promoting indigenous entrepreneurs as a tool in sustaining its socioeconomic development.

Consequently, the Saudi Ministry in charge of Hajj and Umrah reviewed the decision in Nigeria’s favour.

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) which announced this through a press statement last night in Abuja by the assistant director of public affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, had laid down criteria in screening the earlier announced 110 qualified tour operators using, among others, the following parameters: Capacity of operation, years of experience, historical antecedents and clean bill of operation.

The commission added that having evaluated each operator’s ability, experience and quality of services, the top 40 scoring by a seven-man team of experts were adjudged to qualify and approved Hajj Mabrur Ventures Ltd, Hamsyl Travel and Tours Ltd, Gaskiya Tourism and T Agency Ltd, Shebra Travels & Tours Ltd, Alhujaaj International Umrah & Hajj Services Ltd, Taura Travel and Tours Ltd, Tafsan Towers & Travels Ltd, Amisad Air Support Services Ltd, Al-Qibla Travels and Tours Ltd, Danbare Travels Agency Ltd, Masanawa Travel and Tours Ltd. Travels Express Ltd, Strive Wata Travel and Tours Ltd, Maqbuul International Limited, Matasa World Wide T Agency Ltd, Arafat Air Services Nigeria Ltd, Murna Travel Agency Ltd, Dala Air Services Ltd, Libra Gold Travels & Tours Ltd and Omosa Travels Ltd.

The rest are An-Noor Air Services Ltd, Pyramid Travel and Tours Ltd, Snowbal Travels and Tours Ltd, Focal Point Travels Ltd, Comerel Travels & Tours Ltd, Tomeb Travels & Tours, Asan Umrah Company Ltd, Amami Global Links Ltd, Zango Travel & Tours Ltd, Al-Halal Travel & Tours Ltd, Dija Travels & Tours Ltd, Al-Rahma for Hajj and Umrah Services Limited, Qiblah International Services Ltd, Karamchi Travel & Tours Ltd, Allahu Nuru Travels and Tours Ltd, Dar Al-Islam Hajj & Umrah Ltd, H.A.M Travel Air Services Limited, Imam Travels and Tours Nigeria Limited., Skybird Travels and Tours Ltd and Al-Kauthar Travels & Tours Ltd.

However, in the spirit of business partnership, the commission encourages the remaining 70 that have qualified (from the 110 earlier approved) to consider aligning with the qualified 40 in the discharge of this religious obligation.

The commission would like to assure that, as a stakeholder, it is desirous of ensuring that this partnership is entrenched even before the issuance of letters of approval.

Therefore, and in the principle of inclusivity, the commission will soon hold a meeting with the overall 110 qualified operators in order to explore avenues of synergy to ensure all parties are carried along amicably.

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