Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government continues to strive to secure an additional Hajj officer quota from the Government of Saudi Arabia to support the implementation of services for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage.

"The Ministry of Religious Affairs continues to lobby for an additional quota for Hajj officers in 2024," Religious Affairs Minister's Special Staff for Media and Public Communication, Wibowo Prasetyo, stated here on Friday.

He remarked that the Hajj officer quota for 2024 is only 2,200, or around one percent of the 241 thousand Hajj pilgrims.

According to Prasetyo, the Hajj officer quota that Indonesia received for 2024 is far lower than the previous year's quota that reached four thousand people.

"Obviously, this is still very insufficient. It is hoped that the religious affairs minister's lobby will bring positive results. Hopefully, Hajj officers can be increased," he noted.

He remarked that the government would face further challenges in organizing Hajj services if it does not receive an additional quota of Hajj officers, considering that there will be more Hajj pilgrims in 2024 as compared to the previous year.

Prasetyo also explained that the government had begun making preparations for Hajj services next year.

He remarked that officials from the Directorate General of Hajj and Umrah Implementation at the Ministry of Religious Affairs will soon leave for Saudi Arabia to check the cost components that influence the Hajj Organizing Cost (BPIH).

The Ministry of Religious Affairs had proposed a BPIH of Rp105 million (around US$6,773) per person for 2024, higher than the proposed BPIH for 2023 of around Rp98.8 million (around US$6,373).

Prasetyo explained that the proposed BPIH for 2024 was calculated based on the exchange rate of the Indonesian rupiah against the US dollar and Saudi Arabian Riyal as well as cost components of flight, accommodation, food, transportation, and service facilities in Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mina (Armuzna).

"Based on a report, there is an increase in the cost of several services, such as catering, accommodation, and transportation. With the condition of world recession, we do not yet know the hotel cost," he stated.

"We do not just propose an increase in (Hajj) cost without clear argumentation," he remarked.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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