The Ambassador of The Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Ghana, Mr Meshal Hamdan AL Rogi, has assured the Pilgrimage Affairs Office of Ghana (PAOG) of his commitment to help make the 2019 Hajj a success.
He said as custodians of the two holy mosques in Mecca and Madina, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considered it a divine responsibility to ensure that all foreigners who performed the pilgrimage, a religious duty, were treated well, in accordance with the dictates of the Holy Qur'an.
The Ambassador gave the assurance when the Chairman of the Hajj Board, Sheikh I. C. Quaye, and his members paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Accra to formally welcome him into the country.
Mr Rogi also commended the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, for their efforts at improving the fortunes of the country.
He, however, called for the strengthening of working relationship between Ghana and Saudi Arabia.
For his part, Sheikh Quaye congratulated the Ambassador on his appointment and briefed him on some of the successes chalked up by the PAOG over the years, particularly under the ruling government.
He appealed to Mr Rogi to support in promoting the welfare of Muslims in Ghana.
In a related development, the PAOG has begun capturing the biometric data of pilgrims in the country who will make the trip to Mecca this year.
Some of the key data to be captured include fingerprints and digital pictures for facial recognition. Requirements for the exercise are a biometric passport of not less than six months expiry date and proof of full payment of the 2019 Hajj fare of GH¢19,500.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the PAOG Communications Directorate in Accra.
The 16 regions have been grouped into three belts: southern, middle and northern.
The southern belt will cover the Greater Accra, Eastern, Western North, Central and Volta regions, while the middle belt is made up of the Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Oti regions, with the northern belt covering the Northern, Savanna, North East, Upper East and Upper West regions.
For the southern belt, the centre for registration will be the Hajj Village in Accra, while those in the northern belt will have theirs at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale.
The centre for the middle sector will be communicated on a later date after further consultations with the Hajj agents.