By Omodele Adigun
As the Federal Government begins the airlift of intending hajj pilgrims on Monday, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) has extended a concessionary exchange rate of N197 per US Dollar to them.
In its circular entitled ‘2016 Hajj Operations: Purchase of Pilgrims Travelling Allowance (PTA)’ sent to all authorized dealers and general public and posted on its website on Thursday, the apex bank states that arrangements made for the Hajj operations including the pegging of the US dollar at N197 was to enable the intending pilgrims purchase their PTA.
The circular reads in part: “Authorised dealers and the general public are hereby notified of the following arrangements for 2016 Hajj Operations:
Each pilgrim is entitled to purchase a minimum of US$750 and maximum of US1,000 as PTA.The Federal Government has approved that intending pilgrims are to be sold the PTA at a concessionary exchange rate of N197 to the US dollar.
“No commission shall be charged by the banks for the sale of PTA to the intending pilgrims. CBN shall sell the PTA to the designated banks in Lagos and Abuja and the accounts of the respective banks shall be debited as soon as the funds are disbursed.
“Each designated bank is required to sell to the CBN the unutilised funds not later than two weeks from the date of the last inward flight to Nigeria from Jedda, while the accounts of the banks shall be credited promptly.”
“The approved schedule showing the distribution of the pilgrims expected to perform the 2016 Hajj and the designated banks that will handle the sales of the PTA to the pilgrims in the FCT, each state of the federation, the Armed Forces and the National Hajj Commission Headquarters, is stated” in the schedule for guidance. The Sun