The leadership of the agents and their guest, the Executive Secretary (second from left)
In his first official engagement since assuming his new role as Executive Secretary of the Pilgrims Affairs Office of Ghana (PAOG), Alhaji Farouk Hamza last Saturday engaged with the leadership and members of the Hajj Agents Association of Ghana in Kumasi.
Soon after the deliberations, he told the media that “the engagement was fruitful and would inure to the successful operation of this year’s pilgrimage.”
Although he refused to go into the details of the meeting, the Executive Secretary, a man well versed with the operation of the Hajj said “we discussed issues of mutual importance to the PAOG and for that matter the general smooth operations of the pilgrimage.”
To anxious Ghanaian Muslims who want to know when an announcement would be made about this year’s Hajj package and the accompanying cost, he said “as you know I led a delegation for the Hajj Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia during which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between us representing Ghana and the Hajj Minister of Saudi Arabia. It was during the engagement with them that our quota for this year was given us. As you might have heard the restrictions which reduced the numbers markedly last year have been lifted. When we announce the package hopefully in the next few days, details of this year’s operations would be laid bare.”
He used the opportunity to express gratitude to the President and the Vice President for choosing him and others to serve Ghanaian Muslims.
He also pleaded with Muslims to support them to serve their interest as the Hajj season approaches.
In a separate interview, the President of the Hajj Agents Association, Alhaji Alhassan Zakaria said “our engagement with the Executive Secretary was fantastic. We were able to iron our areas of misunderstanding and I can assure Ghanaian Muslims that we are ready to cooperate with the new leadership of the PAOG so we can have a successful Hajj this year.”
The President last week reconstituted the management of the Ghana Hajj Board, creating alongside a Secretariat to be headed by an Executive Secretary.
By the reconstitution, the Ghana Hajj Board now operates as a typical board with oversight responsibility over the Secretariat in the realm of policy formulation and the like.
The Chairman of the Hajj Board is Alhaji Ben Abdulai Banda, the current Coordinator of the Office of Zongo and Inner Cities Affairs at the Office of the President.
By A.R. Gomda