Govt reserves 25% quota for Hajj pilgrims depositing dues in dollars

Intending pilgrims paying fee in dollars would be exempted from balloting, say sources

APP February 24, 2023


The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has decided to allocate a 25 per cent special quota in the government’s Hajj Scheme for the pilgrims who will deposit their dues in dollars.

The ministry also decided that the intending pilgrims, paying fee in dollars, would be exempted from the balloting under the new Hajj policy, official sources said on Friday.

They said about 22,400 pilgrims would benefit from the ‘Sponsorship Scheme’ being introduced by the ministry in the wake of the prevailing foreign exchange crisis in the country.

The Hajj expenses could also be submitted through foreign remittances in dollars, the sources added.

Also read: Haj under govt scheme to cost over Rs1m

They said the Ministry of Finance had indicated that it would not be able to arrange some $2 billion for the Hajj amid the foreign currency shortage.

The sources said the Ministry for Religious Affairs had increased the Hajj quota for private operators from 40 per cent to 50 per cent, which might be further raised in the wake of persistent foreign exchange liquidity crunch.

They said the ministry would charge Rs1.1 million from each pilgrim under the government scheme, but the Hajj expenses might rise to Rs1.3 million in case of further depreciation of the rupee.

The sources said the Saudi government was increasing the tax rate on Hajj by 18 to 20 per cent.


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