The Chairman of the Hajj Board, Alhaji Sheikh I. C. Quaye, on Tuesday announced that 2017 Hajj fare of Gh₵15, 000.00 ($3,000) has been maintained for the this year so that pilgrims can afford to embark the pilgrimage to Mecca which is a very important activity on the Islamic calendar.
According to Sheik I. C. Quaye, the pilgrims were supposed to pay Gh₵19, 000.00 but the government has promised to subsidize the amount with Gh₵ 2 million. In view of this, the board has opted to airlift only 5,500 interested pilgrims to Mecca this year, instead of the usual 6,400.
Addressing the media in Accra, Sheikh Quaye charged interested pilgrims to start paying their fares now to enable the Board to meet the June 30, 2018 deadline given by Saudi Arabia; “late payment shall not be accepted this time around,” he warned.
He explained that late payment affects planning and operations among many other things, and so there will be no extension. The Board chairman signaled that even if few pilgrims paid to meet the deadline they would be airlifted irrespective of the quota to Ghana.
He directed pilgrims to make their payments into the Hajj account at any of the Unibank branches across the country.
However, officers have also been assigned to receive payments directly at the Hajj village near the Polo grounds around the airport. No payment in installments will be allowed from any pilgrim, Sheik Quaye sounded.
He hinted that Hajj fare increment is as a result of the high cost of social amenities/utilities – water, electricity, among others which have shot-up astronomically in Saudi Arabia.
He also informed the media that some 5,500 pilgrims would be housed in a cluster of hotels located in an area called Shaari Sitteen in Saudi. Sheikh further promised local dishes would also be served during pilgrims’ transit in Medina Munawwarah throughout their 20 days stay in Mecca.
He said medical teams both in Ghana and Saud Arabia are ready to start their activities so as to provide the pilgrims with efficient health needs including screening.
The security made up of the Police and the Army would assist in diverse ways to ensure the luggage of the pilgrims are safe.
Source: Delali A. Awuyeh