Minister blames Saudi service charge for Hajj cost hike

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah speaks to the press on Tuesday

The state minister for religious affairs said that a service charge hike by the Saudi Arabian authorities has resulted in the increased cost of Hajj packages this year.

Speaking to the press at the ministry on Tuesday, State Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah also said that the actual cost of Hajj had been significantly reduced by the government’s efforts.

The state minister’s statement came after cabinet on Monday approved ‘National Hajj and Umrah Policy-2019’ and the ‘Hajj Package-2019,’ by fixing Tk4,18,500 for Hajj package-1 and Tk3,44,000 for package-2 for this year.

Pilgrims will be required to spend Tk24,645 more this year, with the total cost adding up to a minimum of Tk3,44,000 to  perform Hajj under private management.

Last year, the cost for package-1 was Tk397,929 and package-2 was Tk319,355.

This means the price rose more than Tk20,000 for package-1 and over Tk24,000 for package-2.

Hajj expenses go up by Tk24,645Also Read- Hajj expenses go up by Tk24,645

“You may have noticed that the cost under package-1 has risen by Tk20,571 compared to last year. But the Saudi government has increased different costs including a service charge to bring it to Tk24,980,” said the state minister.

No one has the authority to lower the cost set by the Saudi government, he said.

For package-2, Saudi government has hiked the charges to Tk19,035, which is about Tk12,000 higher than last year, said state minister Abdullah.

The junior minister claimed the government has reduced the cost for performing Hajj, but there is nothing we can do if the Saudi government imposed higher service charges.

A total of 1,27,198 pilgrims will perform Hajj this year. Of them, 1,20,000 pilgrims will go under the Hajj packages offered by the private management, and 7,198 under the management of the government.

The airfare has been fixed at Tk1,28,000 this year, which is more than Tk10,000 lower compared to last year.

As per the Hajj and Umrah policy 2019 approved by the cabinet, all pilgrims willing to perform Hajj and Umrah must be financially solvent.

Those performing Hajj must possess machine readable passports (MRP) valid till February 10, 2020. Those performing Hajj for the second time or more will have to pay an additional 2,100 Saudi Riyals.