President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration’s insistence on probity, transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors is to secure the country’s future for all Nigerians, especially the youths.
Mr Buhari stated 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, Abuja, on Thursday.
He restated that the present administration would continually promote the culture of honesty and integrity in service, which would guarantee a better future for 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 the youths constituted over 60 percent of the Nigerian population, pointing out that they deserved to inherit a stable and prosperous country that they could be proud of.
He added that government would work assiduously to prevent waste and the depletion of resources by corrupt Nigerians.
Buhari told the head of the delegation of the EU that Nigeria had been reluctant to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) among ECOWAS countries.
He said the reluctance was because of the need to protect her economy, especially the industries and small businesses that currently provide jobs for the majority of the citizens.
The president said that the signing of the agreement would 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.’’
Mr Buhari, who commended the EU for its support for the rehabilitation of the North East, noted that the Nigerian economy was already being repositioned to attract more investment that would create jobs.
In his remarks, Karlsen said the EU would continue to support the present administration in its key priorities which included security, economy and the fight against corruption.
He said 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 added.
Mr Buhari also received letters of credence from the Ambassador of Italy, Stefano Pontesilli and that of Spain, Mr Marcelino Cabanas Ansorena.