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Government yet to determine 2021 hajj pilgrimage costs: Ministry

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Jakarta. The 2021 Hajj Pilgrimage Implementation (BPIH) costs had yet to be determined, and a working committee meeting will be held to deliberate on this matter, according to the Religious Affairs Ministry.

"There is no decision yet. This year's hajj costs are still being discussed intensively by the Working Committee of the Religion Ministry and Commission VIII of the House of Representatives (DPR)," acting Director General of Hajj and Umrah Implementation at the ministry, Khoirizi H. Dasir, stated in his official statement here on Wednesday.

Dasir noted that the ministry and the Hajj Financial Management Agency (BPKH) had yet to determine this year’s Hajj costs. The figures presented at the Joint Hearing Meeting with the Commission VIII were merely scenarios.

The discussion centering on the hajj costs were included in the preparation and mitigation stages of organizing the pilgrimage during the pandemic.

The discussion was held while awaiting official information from Saudi Arabia on the departure quota for this year's pilgrims. Hence, the discussion on the Hajj costs is conducted on the basis of several assumptions on quotas, according to the formulated scenario.

"Since there is no certainty about the quota, the discussion about the cost of Hajj is based on assumptions, starting from the quota of 30 percent, 25 percent, 20 percent, and even up to only five percent," he said.

Meanwhile, he did not contend about the potential rise in the cost of Hajj on account of three influencing factors: the increase in the dollar exchange rate, the tax rise from five percent to 15 percent, and the necessity to apply health protocols.

"Hajj pilgrimage during a pandemic requires swab checks, maintaining distance, and limiting room capacity. There are also provisions on quarantine and others. All of these will certainly have an impact on the cost of Hajj," he stated.

He emphasized that the Religion Ministry along with the Commission VIII are working on the preparations to offer the best service to the pilgrims. For instance, to reduce mobility during pilgrimage, the ministry plans to provide three meals a day, so that the pilgrims do not have to venture out in search of food.

"The Religion Ministry, along with Commission VIII, will continue to do everything possible. Hence, if there is an increase in the Hajj costs, it is expected to not be a burden on the pilgrims," Dasir stated. (Antaranews)

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