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Want a hajj that suits your budget? Register with the Saudi govt

The Ministry of Hajj has asked Saudis and expatriates wishing to perform low-cost hajj this year to register

Published: Updated:

The Ministry of Hajj has asked Saudis and expatriates wishing to perform low-cost hajj this year to register their names at its website, which has been created especially for this purpose.

The ministry said it would direct the intending domestic pilgrims to the officially accredited hajj service companies which are most suitable for them.

Abdul Rahman al-Nifaie, the ministry’s assistant undersecretary, told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the procedure is aimed at protecting domestic pilgrims from fake companies.

He expects more than 41,000 pilgrims to benefit from the low-cost hajj this year, compared to about 17,000 last year.

After registration, every pilgrim will be given a secret number which will be automatically conveyed to the hajj service provider.

The pilgrims will no longer have to visit the companies themselves as was the case in the past. The ministry will choose the suitable companies for them this year, al-Nifaie said.

He said the ministry has approved 53 companies providing hajj services at reduced rates out of 116 which applied for accreditation. “The winning companies were electronically chosen according to the grades which were given to them for their services during the previous hajj season,” he added.

Al-Nifaie said the ministry has allotted the locations for tents in the Holy Sites for a total 204 local hajj firms, including the 53 companies which are offering low-cost hajj.

He said the hajj companies will be electronically supervised to ensure the rights of the pilgrims and prevent cheating on the prices or services.

“The close supervision will prompt the companies to provide quality services to the Guests of Allah,” al-Nifaie added.

He said all the companies providing hajj services at reduced rates will be linked through a special computer program.

The success of last year’s “low-cost hajj” project has encouraged the Ministry of Hajj to expand the project in the future.

The “low-cost hajj” project seeks to provide domestic pilgrims with suitable hajj services at reasonable costs to combat the spiraling costs charged by hajj operators.

The Ministry of hajj has allowed local hajj companies to begin registering domestic pilgrims who wish to perform hajj this year.

The head of domestic pilgrims’ affairs at the ministry, Fayez al-Barakati, said the ministry has allocated several areas for domestic hajj operators in Mina according to each company’s quota.

He pointed out that while local hajj companies are being allowed to register domestic hajj pilgrims, they cannot enter into contracts yet or collect fees.

Al-Barakati explained that the ministry is coordinating with the Ministry of Interior to activate an electronic system that allows for early registration for hajjis, something which typically starts Dhul Qaadah of each year.

This article was first written in the Saudi Gazette on June 3, 2014.