President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that he is yet to sign the African free trade agreement because he has not finished reading the fine print.
The president disclosed this when he met with South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, in Abuja on Thursday, July 12, 2018.
The president had previously pulled out of the signing of the continental free trade agreement on March 21, 2018, saying that he needed more time for consultations back home.
While addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, the president said he hasn't finished going through the document because he's a slow reader. He promised to sign the agreement when he's done going through it to ensure that it's for the good of Nigerians.
He said, "I am very careful about what I sign, whether it is my cheque book or agreements, especially when it involves nations and states. As your President has said, we are so populated and have so many young unemployed citizens and our industries are just coming up
" So, in trying to guarantee employment, goods, and services in our country, we have to be careful with agreements that will compete, maybe successfully, against our upcoming industries.
"I was presented with the document; I am a slow reader, maybe because I was an ex-soldier. I didn't read it fast enough before my officials saw that it was all right for signature. I kept it on my table. I will soon sign it."
Even though Ramaphosa had also refused to sign the $3 trillion agreement in March, he put pen to paper at the African Union (AU) summit in Mauritania in June.
The agreement will create a single continental market for goods and services in member nations of the AU. It covers agreements on trade in goods, services, investment, and rules and procedures on dispute settlement, including a range of provisions to facilitate trade, reduce transaction costs, provide exceptions, flexibilities and safeguards for vulnerable groups and countries in challenging circumstances.
Most notably, it allows for free movement of business persons and investments using a single currency.