According to reports, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has increased the special allocation for Dollar-paying pilgrims in the Government Hajj Scheme 2023 to 50 percent in light of the US dollar’s extreme shortage and the economy’s collapse.
This quota is intended for pilgrims who will make their payments in US dollars. Because of the shortfall of US dollars, banks have refused to provide fresh letters of credit (LCs) to importers, further affecting an economy already plagued by skyrocketing inflation.
Initially, the government allocated a 25 percent Hajj quota for individuals who would pay in US dollars last week. But, because the Finance Ministry was unable to provide $2 billion for Hajj expenses, the authorities were forced to reconsider their plan. Ministry officials intend to speak with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to persuade him to release the funds.
The Hajj Policy 2023 will be submitted to the federal cabinet next week for finalization, which is expected to take between 8 to 10 days. In anticipation of a prolonged foreign exchange liquidity shortage, the Ministry has already boosted the Hajj quota for private entities from 40 percent to 50 percent, with the possibility of future increases.
As per reports, each visitor under the government plan would be billed Rs. 1.1 million, but this fee might rise to Rs. 1.3 million if the currency continues to fall in value.
Furthermore, the Saudi government intends to raise the Hajj tax rate from 18 percent to 20 percent.