ECC Approves Hajj Policy for 2023 and Foreign Exchange Cover of $90 Million
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved the Hajj 2023 Policy, providing foreign exchange cover of $90 million. The approval was made during a meeting held on Monday, March 6, 2023, presided over by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Senator Ishaq Dar.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony submitted a summary on Hajj Policy 2023, which was approved by the ECC. According to the policy, the Hajj quota allocated to Pakistan for the year 2023 is 179,210, which will be distributed between the government and private Hajj schemes at a ratio of 50:50. A quota of 50 percent each will be reserved for the sponsorship scheme.
It is expected that the sponsorship scheme of the government Hajj quota will generate $194 million, while the private Hajj scheme will generate over $250 million, taking the aggregate to over $440 million. This is expected to ease the foreign exchange burden.
For the year 2023, the tentative Hajj Package for the Northern region is Rs. 1,175,000 and for the South Region, it is Rs. 1,165,000.
In addition, the ECC approved a technical supplementary grant (TSG) of Rs. 12 billion in favor of the Planning Commission for the conduct of the 7th Population & Housing Census and Rs. 3.2 billion in favor of Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety for the National Poverty Graduation Programme (NPGP).
However, the ECC deferred a summary presented by the Ministry of National Food Security & Research on urea fertilizer requirement for the current year, with direction to incorporate the recommendations of the committee framed by the ECC on the gas distribution plan headed by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Another summary submitted by the Ministry of Industries and Production on Solar Panel & Allied Equipment Manufacturing Policy 2023 was also deferred with the direction to review and revise the proposed policy considering inputs from all stakeholders.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, SAPM on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Pasha, Federal Secretaries, and other senior officers.
The approval of the Hajj Policy and the allocation of foreign exchange cover will ensure the smooth and hassle-free performance of the Hajj pilgrimage for the year 2023.