From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
The Association of Hajj and Umrah Operators of Nigeria on Tuesday in Kano appealed to the Federal Government to capture its members in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N50 billion COVID-19 palliatives designed for hoteliers, airlines, service providers and health merchants.
Speaking during an interactive session with members of Kano State Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Kano Zonal chairman of the body, Alhaji Abdullaziz Halliru Kafinsoli, lamented that the outbreak of COVID-19 has seriously affected their business.
Citing the recent suspension of flights into Saudi Arabia by Saudi authorities, he said the members of the association has suffered loss running into millions of dollars, insisting that they are entitled to partake in the CBN incentive considering the huge amount of revenue they generate for the Federal Government.
The AUTHORITY reports that the CBN has set aside N50 billion to be disbursed through the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to support business owners such as hoteliers, airlines, service providers, among others.
Kafinsoli stated that, “we have gone through the CBN N50 billion incentive offer, but we are not all that optimistic of benefitting from it because we have not been consulted.
“The Federal Government should consider our members because we are the worse hit in this COVID-19 problem. When policies like this are made, our members should be captured considering the amount of turnover and revenue we generate for the Federal Government through our business.”
He expressed happiness over the emergence of a new leadership in the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), promising that the association are ever ready to work hand-in-hand with the new leadership of NAHCON for smooth airlift of pilgrims to the Holy Land.
“We thank God that the new leadership of NAHCON came at a time when we have all these challenges; and they have agreed to work with us. We are ready to give them maximum support and cooperation.
“Already, we have held meetings with NAHCON and we have seen a new face that comes with new ideas; and we are ready to work with them.”
Kafinsoli, however, urged pilgrims who had already registered before the suspension of the Hajj exercise by Saudi authorities not to pannick as measures has already been put in place to ensure that their expenses are adequi protected.
“We are assuring those who have already booked flights with our members that they are not going to lose their money.
“Once the suspension is lifted, they will make use of their tickets. We are working round the clock to ensure that they will be duly compensated and we are happy that the Saudi authorities are cooperating with us in this regard,” he added.