For Immediate Release
Government Must Intervene in the Plight of Muslim Pilgrims – Zango Caucus
It has come to the notice of the National Zango Caucus of the Great National Democratic Congress, that, the Nana Addo/ Bawumia led NPP administration is without ignominy demanding a whopping Gh¢39,000.00 for the 2022 Hajj pilgrimage, and an additional Gh¢7,000.00 from the 2019 pilgrims, who through no fault of theirs, could not participate in the said 2019 pilgrimage.
It will be recalled that the erstwhile H.E John Dramani Mahama led NDC administration pegged the cost of Hajj at Gh¢11,900.00 per pilgrim before leaving office to enable more Muslims fulfil the Muslim religious rite.
However, the NPP administration after taking over power in 2017 adjusted the fee from Gh¢11,900.00 in 2016 to an astronomical Gh¢19,500 by 2020 and are now demanding Gh 39,000.00 without recourse to the prevailing economic conditions.
In a rather suprising turn of events, Pilgrims who through no fault of theirs were not airlifted to Mecca by the state after paying their monies in full in 2020 are made to pay an additional Gh¢7,000.00 in complete breach of the communique signed by the Ghana Hajj Board chairman and dated June 20th 2021. The content of the agreement sort to immune prospective pilgrims-who intend to keep their monies with the Hajj Board, should there be a future adjustment in future.
The National Zango Caucus of the NDC is by this statement calling on the Vice President, H.E Alhaji Bawumia to with immediate effect, intervene and ensure Government subsidizes the unreasonably high cost of the annual Pilgrimage to Mecca, to enable the ordinary Muslim have an opportunity to fulfill his or her religious obligations.
To the NDC Zango Caucus, the call for Government’s subsidies is not far fetched, as the Nana Addo/ Bawumia led NPP administration is unrepentant in dolling out scares resources of the state in funding religious activities including the National Cathedral.
We in the NDC have no doubt to conclude that, Ghanaian Pilgrims are paying more for a religious rite under the current NPP Govt due to the inefficiencies and mismanagement of the economy, waste of state resources through corrupt practices and the high exhange rates.
As such, it came to us as no surprise when the Presidency was recently forced to reprimand the chairman of the Hajj Board in a leaked letter dated 17th May, 2022 for what can best be described as perjury.
Why will the Government wait until 6th June to announce the Hajj fees, when other countries have began airlifting their pilgrims to the Holy land?
The Zango Caucus of the National Democratic Congress is further appealing to the Hajj Board to clear the doubt on the status of the many pilgrims above 60 years who have paid their monies in full since 2019, but cannot partake in this year’s Hajj, due to the measures put in place by the Saudi Government to protect the aged and venerable from the deadly effect of Covid-19 pandemic.
Finally, we call on the Hajj board to do the needful by abiding with the agreement not to increase any fares for those who paid since 2020 and also subsidize the new fares as it was always done under the regime of former President Mahama.
Alhaj Mohammed Naziru
National Communications officer, NDC Zango caucus.