THE National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON)’s week-long study trip to Indonesia has ended with a closing ceremony in the office of Bank Muamalat Indonesia.
The Commission had chosen Indonesia for the case study due to similarities the two countries share in the Hajj industry. For instance, Indonesia has the largest number of pilgrims in the world, Nigeria has the largest number in Africa. The larger number of Hajj pilgrims in the two countries are from the rural areas. Whereas the Indonesian seem better informed and are benefitting from the country’s BPKH, Nigeria’s Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) is facing challenges while the rural populace seems still less aware of the benefits of the scheme.
Under the sponsorship of Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) since 2019, a team of NAHCON staff embarked on a capacity building visit to Badan Pengolola Keuangan Haji (BPKH) headquarters otherwise known as Indonesian (Sovereign) Hajj Fund Management Agency to see how best to improve on HSS, matters of general Hajj operationsand Islamic Finance. Staff received insight on how BPKH managed to record the successes it did within a short time. The lessons centered around establishment of BPKH as a body backed by presidential authorization to manage Hajj fund in Indonesia. Consequently, while BPKH solely manages Hajj funds and investment, the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs centralizes its operations on organizing the pilgrims. The pilgrims are spread along provinces under which they registered for the Hajj.
The team also gained insight on risk management of Hajj funds in BPKH, kinds of investment, human resource management, smart Hajj applications, role of digital registration in easing and increasing hajj registration among others. The team were simultaneously taken round to have an overview of the country’s Hajj enlightenment process. They were also taken round the pilgrims’ hostel in Jakarta.
Alhaji Nura Hassan Yakassai, NAHCON’s Commissioner Policy, Personnel Management and Finance (PPMF) as well as leader of the delegation observed in his closing remarks that the trip was truly educative. He described the activities of the week as learning while having fun through the host’s warm reception, educative lectures, generous nourishment, visitations to places of interest, and the privilege of participating in Indonesian Sharia Economic Festivalweek. During the week, NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation with Honourable Minister of State on Owned Enterprises and Chairman of Masyarakat Ekonmi Syariah, Mr. Erick Thohir. Alhaji Yakassai expressed gratitude for this and all other kind gestures extended to the team.
In an emotional laden speech by Dr KM. Mursudi Syuhud, Chairman and Chief Imam of the Indonesian Ulama, he prayed that the two organizations will grow bigger together as they join heads to work together. He expressed confidence that there is success when people of faith gather with love seeking for knowledge, guidance, livelihood, and collaboration.
The BPKH Chairman, Mr. Anggito Abimanyu encouraged the NAHCON delegation to remain focused and to utilize what they have learnt. Recalling that there was a time when Indonesia, like Nigeria, had to travel to Malaysia to understudy the Tabung Hajji. Now five years later, he said they have achieved a lot from what they started.
The host, Mr Abimanyu offered gift to Alhaaji Nura Yakassai as well as other members of the delegation. Present in Indonesia apart from NAHCON staff and board member were Hon. Abubakar HassanNalaraba, Chairman House Committee on Pilgrimage; from the state boards were Alhaji Idris Almakura, Execitive Secretary (ES) Nasarawa state; Barr. Awwal Abdullahi ES Plateau State, and Alhaji Abba Danbatta, ES, Kano state.