In order to ensure effective implementation, the AU will establish an AfCFTA secretariat composed of an African Economic Council, a Trade Observatory and a Dispute Settlement Body. As a first step, 44 countries signed the agreement on 21 March 2018. At the time, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria could not do anything that would harm local producers and entrepreneurs.  The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, which represents 3,000 Nigerian producers, welcomed the decision to withdraw from the agreement.  Nigeria`s foreign minister tweeted that further internal consultations were needed before Nigeria could sign the deal.  Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said Nigeria`s delay was regrettable. .