Hon. Kani Abubakar Faggo is member of the House Representing Shira/Giade Federal Constituency of Bauchi state on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this chat with BENJAMIN UMUTEME, he speaks on the 2020 Budget, border closure, his legislative agenda among others.
You joined politics after long years in the civil service, how has the experience been?
Yes, I worked as a civil servant most of my life but politics is in my blood more than the civil service work. I was an active politician as a student, from my primary school days to university. I was elected Head boy to class monitor and I played key roles in unionism in the university and that was when I knew politics was in my blood. However, I found myself in the Civil Service.
In spite of that, I used to participate in community development programmes within my locality, ensuring that things worked well for my people.
I resigned from civil service because there was a policy in Bauchi state known as the tenure policy which affected me and I left the civil service in 2016 even though I still had nine more years to serve but the policy affected me and I retired.
I worked as a Permanent Secretary for eight years but I do not have any regret because in politics you will do more for the people you are representing. The number of people that you will help in politics is more than the civil service.
Also, you stand as their voice and can defend them and the state, you can tell the government to do the needful for your people as the case may be. The opportunity here is more than the civil service. You can speak louder on behalf of your people and make laws for development for them which is not so in civil service.
I now have a wider space to contribute to the development of my immediate community and the state and perhaps country.
What is your legislative agenda for your people?
My primary responsibility is to make laws to help my people. I now have the opportunity to make laws that would help them improve on their standard of living and also bring development to my constituency.
This can be done through motions and bills that would have positive effect to their lives, as I speak with you now I have presented five motions and I would be taking the sixth one this month and all the five I have presented have been passed.
My first motion was on the crisis in the Bauchi State House of Assembly. The crisis led to the emergence of two presiding officers in the Assembly and because of the motion an investigative committee was sent to Bauchi under the Chairmanship of Hon. Sarki Ada, they have presented the report back to the green chambers which has been referred to the committee of the whole, and as I am telling you now, the crisis has been resolved.
The second motion was on the need to control erosion menace along Disina to Jamaare River bank. The third one was on the need to rehabilitate the 73 kilometre Gwaram to Misau Road which is a federal government road.
The fourth motion was on the need to construct and rehabilitate the fourteen rural roads in Shira/Giade Federal constituency, while the last one was on the need to construct the collapsed bridge at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.
And my sixth motion is on the need to construct Wulga Dam in Giade local government area and I am expecting to move at least minimum of 10 motions before the second quarters of next year 2020.
What’s the impact of 2020 budget on the common man?
Security, agriculture, health, which are the basis for human life are in the 2020 budget which would improve the lot of the common man because it covers every aspect of the economy.
The 2019 budget in the first place was not passed on time for proper implementation, for that, it did not cover the entire areas that would have turned the economy around therefore, it suffered so many setbacks.
However the 2020 budget is different as it would improve not only lives but infrastructural development. Unlike the 2019 budget that came very late with no adequate attention given to it in terms of monitoring and evaluation as well as oversight by the 8th Assembly members.
It suffered a lot and the time frame was too short for implementation, but the ninth assembly is doing its best to pass the budget on time. The 8th Assembly never had time for follow-up and monitoring as well as oversight because it was passed towards the end of their tenure.
This time all hands will be on decks to ensure that it is implemented on time; hence it captured every sector of the economy and it would definitely improve on lives. So, the 2019 budget base on it poor implementation was transformed to 2020, which would be given priority.
Don’t forget that the 2019 budget was poorly implementation not up to 30 per cent capital project was completed; only the recurrent as usual recorded higher implementation. Moreover, there are some projects in the 2019 budget that have not even started because of lack of funds that was not released on time, for that many agencies could not performed but now they have started defending their budgets and we hope that before the end of the year it would be assented by Mr. President so that by January 2020 things would start running.
What’s your take on border closure by the federal government?
The border closure is yielding result on local rice production because the producers have improved on the quality and it is now better than the foreign rice. The packaging and branding has improved also.
You can see it everywhere because the opportunity is there for them to improve on their quality and there is also competition among the manufacturers, therefore they are trying to bring out their best in order to be the best. This is a great privilege offered to them by the president to showcase their capabilities, and they have proved it.
I think they should be commendable unlike years back when there was no competition and the foreign rice dominated the market, and the local manufacturers relax. But now that the government closed the borders they have woken up from their slumber in order to meet demands.
With this improvement, the socio-economic stagnation affecting the country is gradually been addressed. Let us not forget that Mr. President cannot just wake up and begin to announce border closure, he must have looked inward and also consult his economic team who give him go ahead to close the border and we can testify of it that local rice have improved on quality and it is in abundance. To me the President did that in the best interest of the country.
What are the benefits from the border closure?
Firstly, local rice has increased in terms of productivity and has been able to meet up with supply and demand in the country because nobody is saying there is a short fall in rice. Secondly, it has promoted national interest in rice production because those foreigners that thought their rice was the best have been put to shame because our rice is better than their own and can compete with theirs at the international market.
Thirdly, it has increased the growth of indigenous companies through capacity and strengths to compete globally. Fourthly, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has also increased money that would have been used to buy foreign rice and sent abroad is now used for local rice.
Also, it has increased employment opportunities and increase revenue generation. There is hope for wholesalers and retailers who sell to consumers and make their profit while also boosting the economy of the country. Initially, it looked as if there would be a short fall in the market but the opposite is the case, which shows that we have the capacity to produce rice and export as well to other countries.
In fact this is an eye opener to the country that we are a productive nation and not a consuming country as was being speculated. Our rice farmers are enjoying and if this closure continues you can see the country producing rich men and women from the production of rice.
The advantage of the closure is more than the disadvantages because the result is positive and we are living witnesses to it.