Of Religious Pilgrimage and Fiscal Irresponsibility.

Umrah Hajj

Recently, Vice President Kashim Shettima confirmed that the President Tinubu led government has approved a staggering 90 billion Naira as subsidy for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage.

90 Billion Naira? At a time when Nigerians are still grappling with the economic ripple effects of the removal of fuel subsidy?  This move is bunkers and there is no rationale whatsoever behind such a decision!

For a country facing numerous challenges, allocating 90 billion Naira to subsidize a religious pilgrimage is inexcusable. This money earmarked for the Hajj subsidy could be better utilized to address other pressing issues that abound at this time! For crying out loud, we have been going back and forth on salary increase for workers to no end, but at the speed of light, we blow 90 billion on some religious tourism? And to add insult to injury, funds are still going to be allocated for Christian pilgrimage and maybe for traditionalists! It’s outrageous!

The discussion about the government completely disengaging from funding religious pilgrimages is not new.

Subsidizing pilgrimages provides no tangible benefits whatsoever to the economy or the country’s well-being. Religion is a deeply personal matter and should be financed privately by those who choose to undertake such voyages. The government’s involvement in subsidizing religious activities amounts to misallocating scarce resources and stands condemned.

Again, at this time, the need for a more judicious allocation of resources cannot be overstated. With 90 billion Naira, the government could make significant strides in several critical areas. It’s insane that we boost other countries’ economies with these religious tourism at the expense of ours!

It’s time to stop putting unnecessary financial burden on the economy.

Just as the subsidies on fuel and electricity were deemed unsustainable and detrimental to our long-term economic growth, the same rationale should apply to subsidies on religious pilgrimages.

Governments at all levels, both state and federal, must prioritize fiscal responsibility at this time more than ever, by phasing out subsidies for religious pilgrimages.

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