sovereign programme. This is so because whatever airline is coming -- and the quota given to each country is based on the country's performance and recognition.
For example, Ghana might be given a quota of 2,500 in a year whereas a country like Nigeria would be given over a hundred thousand and Malaysia would be given over three hundred thousand. It all depends on the country's population and the population of Moslems in that country. So it is important because at the end of the day, any pilgrim in Saudi Arabia is not considered as a private individual; he is considered as an individual of a particular country. So if there is anything at all, it is country-to-country con-sideration.
So it is quite important that as we look at this document, we should consider that leaving the whole operation of the Hajj Board to the private sector is dangerous because at the end of the day, issuance of visa is considered based on the credibility of the country. One person going to commit any crime or involving in any problem discredits the country. So the involvement of a government in the operations of the Hajj is very, very important.
For example, I remember in the past, we had an MP in the person of hon. Salia who was the Chairman and we had other private people. When we came in, we had the opportunity to handle the operations of the Hajj with government members on board. This one happened up to last year but last two years or last year, the private sector themselves said “no way”, they would want to operate the whole thing and unfortunately, it ended in a fiasco; it never met the approval of the public.
Therefore, like my hon. Colleague is
saying, it is quite important that we look at the operations. At least at the apex, we should have government involvement because it has to do with money; it has to do with an aircraft; it has to do with a lot of people, delegations and committees to handle such a thing. If it is left to a particular group of people they would mess up and then mess up the country as a whole.
Mr. Speaker, having touched on these points I would associate myself with the Statement on floor.
Alhaji Collins Dauda (NDC - Asutifi
South): Mr. Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the Statement made. This Statement in my opinion, has come at the right time. We are looking at the Statement, after a Hajj has been badly managed and also before one is to take place.
Mr. Speaker, Moslems out there certainly would be wondering why problems relating to Hajj organization continue to bedevil this country and particularly Moslems. Mr. Speaker, they would always be wondering because this is an exercise that is always being carried out between Ghana and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is always from Accra to Mecca. It has never changed yet we continue to have problems.
Mr. Speaker, I happened to be a
member of the Hajj Committee in the 1980s representing Brong Ahafo Region and at the time there was not anything like the Hajj Board; it was organized on committee basis. Mr. Speaker, at that time there were problems and because of the problems it was thought that if the Hajj Committee was made a board maybe the problems would be minimized. But Mr. Speaker, with the board, the situation is worse.
Last year, for instance, I happened to be near the airport where they hosted the pilgrims and the situation there was very, very bad. Mr. Speaker, the pilgrims were left to themselves, there was no water even for performing ablution for prayers. All kinds of difficulties were there for these pilgrims to encounter.
Mr. Speaker, I think that nobody in this country can rule out Government involvement in any Hajj exercise. Government certainly has a role to play here. But the problem encountered here is the undue interference by Government sometimes, that is where the issue is.
Mr. Speaker, Government certainly would want to support people to perform the pilgrimage and nobody can stand in the way of Government when Government decides to support or sponsor people to perform the pilgrimage. But how it is done is what causes the problem for pilgrims.
Mr. Speaker, pilgrims pay their moneys to the board or the council, waiting to be lifted from Accra to Mecca for the pilgrimage. Then along the line Government decides to sponsor. Meanwhile, a quota is given for Ghana and you cannot exceed the quota. Because Government would want to ensure that people that it wants to sponsor would perform the pilgrimage - [Interruption] -- I have not talked about a cedi quota, I am only saying that Ghana has a quota within which we must operate and -
Hajia Alima Mahama -- rose -