Technology becomes main means in managing Hajj works

Shared by Omar A. Mandia
Assistant Hajj Attaché, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Published in Saudi Gazette, January 10, 2023

JEDDAH — The technology has become the main means in managing the Hajj works, Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdelfattah Mashat said. He added that Saudi Arabia holds a large technical infrastructure.

Dr. Mashat made the remarks during a session at the “Expo Hajj”, the conference and exhibition of Hajj and Umrah services held in Jeddah from Jan. 9-12, 2023. He said that there are more than 35 governmental and private entities working within a complex system to serve the pilgrims.

He said they are working to harness the technology in different ways that can enable pilgrims and Umrah performers to serve themselves in a short time period.

The Makkah initiative has provided all verification procedures, as the pilgrims have been able to enter Saudi Arabia directly without disruption.

The Makkah initiative transformed the traditional procedures into easy electronic transactions that pilgrims witness before and after arrival, Dr. Mashat said.

He added that digitizing the transactions have provided huge data that will be used in foreseeing the future and developing services.

Dr. Mashat revealed to Al-Ekhbariyah that more than 70,000 Hajj pilgrims have registered in the domestic pilgrims platform, noting that the ministry has provided an installment payments service to facilitate those wishing to perform Hajj.

From his side, the Director General of Passports (Jawazat) Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya confirmed that Hajj 1444AH plan has been approved, noting that they study annually all the previous plans of Hajj to benefit from the past seasons.

He said that there will be field teams in the pilgrims areas to monitor the vital features of re-fingerprints when the characteristics are not clear, in order to facilitate the identification of the pilgrim.

Esam Al-Wagait, the director of the National Information Center, said that the center provides technical services at the ports in partnership with the General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) and the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA).

The center also provides electronic systems, biometric devices and all the information of pilgrims such as visas and permits.

Al-Wagait said that there are more than 45 network circuits at the ports, and 820 workstations for employees to serve the people passing through these ports.

He also said that they have provided the service of presenting the permit of Hajj, Cars, and workers in Hajj season, through Tawakkalna services app.

He noted that the Estishraf platform analyzes data and provides insights and analyzes to decision-makers.

While Governor of Digital Government Authority (DGA) Eng. Ahmed Mohammed Al-Suwaiyan stated that most of the governmental transactions have become electronic.

He noted that they have shortened 160 million visits to the Ministry of Interior alone, saving more than SR17 billion for the government and beneficiaries.

More than 750,000 Umrah visas have been issued since the start of the current year, Al-Suwaiyan said.

He confirmed that the DGA’s priority is to merge 36 platforms in the Hajj sector in Nusuk platform, which provides 121 different services between the business sector and individuals.

He said that the Nusuk platform has achieved integration between more than 50 government entities, 10,000 entities in the business sector, and thousands of service providers.