Just In: Senate asks Nigerian govt to make dollar available to pilgrims at N200
The Senate’s call, on Thursday, followed the adoption of the report on “Extortion of Pilgrims By National Hajj Commission” by its committee on foreign affairs presented by Monsurat Sunmonu, APC-Oyo.
“The Government should as matter of urgency extend concession on the Naira – Dollar exchange to NAHCON and NCPC, once in every year, for the pilgrimages to the two Holy Lands,” read the report.
Adamu Aliero, APC-Kebbi, said the the Central Bank of Nigeria had been offering dollar at N200 to some unnamed businesses, while seeking the support of the Senate to adopt the recommendation on the exchange rate.
“You said CBN has been giving some businesses dollar at N200?” asked Senate President Bukola Saraki, calling Mr. Aliero to restate his claim.
“If some businesses are getting that concession, pilgrims also deserve it,” Mr. Saraki said, after an affirmation by Mr. Aliero.
The dollar currently exchanges for 365 naira in the black market, and about 315 naira in the interbank.
Critics of lowering exchange rate for pilgrims argue the policy serves no economic purpose, and hold that such concession should be granted to businesses that help stimulate growth.
It also tasked the government to “engage at highest level discussions with Saudi Arabia to review the 50 – 50 carriage of pilgrims between Nigerian and Saudi Arabian airlines.
“This is with with a view to providing opportunities for more indigenous Nigerian airlines to participate in Hajj operations,” according to a recommendation, which was later adopted by the Senate.