The president said Nigerian youths deserve to inherit a stable and prosperous country.
The president said this when he received a Letter of Credence from the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, Ketil Iversen Karlsen, at the State House on Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Abuja.
President Buhari explained to the delegation that the federal government is reluctant to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) among ECOWAS countries because of the need to protect the economy, especially the industries and small businesses that currently provide jobs for majority Nigerians.
In a statement released by the president's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, he noted that the signing of the agreement will expose the industries and small businesses to external pressures and competitions, which could lead to closures and job losses.
He said, "We are not enthusiastic about signing the EPA because of our largely youthful population. We are still struggling to provide jobs for them, and we want our youths to be kept busy.
"Presently, our industries cannot compete with the more efficient and highly technologically driven industries in Europe. We have to protect our industries and our youths."
The president also expressed his commitment towards promoting a culture of honesty and integrity in service of the country. He said his administration's insistence on transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors is to secure the future of the country for all Nigerians, especially the youths.
"Our insistence on probity is to encourage people to be accountable, and accept honesty as a lifestyle so as to secure the future of our youths," he said.
The president said more than 60% of Nigerians fall into the age category of youths and deserve to inherit a stable and prosperous country that they can be proud of.
While addressing the president, Karlsen, noted that the EPA was designed to accommodate and protect some economies that would find it difficult to compete.
"We are hopeful that there will be a signature on the agreement," he said.
He also promised that the EU will continue to support President Buhari's administration in the key priorities it listed; security, economy and the fight against corruption.
The president also received Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of Italy, Dr. Stefano Pontesilli and the Ambassador of Spain, Marcelino Cabanas Ansorena.