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Nigerian President Buhari Declines to Sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU

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EIRNS—Following the receipt of a Letter of Credence from the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, Ketil Iversen Karlsen, urging Nigeria to sign the EPA, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria will not sign the agreement in order to protect the economy, especially the industries and small businesses that currently provide jobs for a majority of Nigerians, "Sahara Reporters" reported today.

Noting that the signing of the agreement would expose the industries and small businesses to external pressures and competition, which could lead to closures and job losses, Buhari 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 Economic Community of West African States, also known as ECOWAS, is a regional economic union of sixteen countries located in West Africa. The EU has a regular political dialogue with ECOWAS. It has also initialed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with ECOWAS, offering ECOWAS immediate tariff-free
access to the EU in return for gradual liberalization of 75% of the 300 million person African bloc. The EPA is a bilateral trade deal between the 28 EU members and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) alongside Mauritania, which left ECOWAS in 2002. Of the sixteen ECOWAS, two, Nigeria and Gambia, have not signed the EPA.