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Stable Naira, Graft End Are Top US-Nigeria Goals, Adeyemo Says - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 18, 2023

Stable Naira, Graft End Are Top US-Nigeria Goals, Adeyemo Says

BY  Anthony Osae-BrownBloomberg News

A mobile money transfer and sim card point of sale operator counts Nigerian naira banknotes to give to a customer at a street kiosk in Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. Gasoline prices have more than tripled since the subsidies were abolished on May 29, exacerbating a cost-of-living crisis in Africa’s biggest economy. , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Stabilizing Nigeria’s currency and rooting out corruption are among the top reform priorities the US sees as necessary to spur growth in Africa’s biggest economy, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said. 

“Unifying Nigeria’s foreign-exchange rates will create the kind of macroeconomic stability that is essential to attracting foreign investment,” Adeyemo said in remarks at an event in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital. 

Adeyemo — the son of Nigerian emigrants to the US — is traveling in the country Sept. 17-19 as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to deepen US-Africa economic and trade ties. 

Among other economic-reform goals the Treasury official outlined Monday were the need to root out corruption and the perception of graft in the business environment and protecting the integrity of Nigeria’s financial system. 

“Taking steps to make your banking system more secure will help reduce the ability of criminals, terrorists, and others to illicitly use the Nigerian financial system,” he said. 

Adeyemo commended the Tinubu administration for committing to work with the Financial Action Task Force — the global financial watchdog — to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing. 

“Our government stands ready to help work through these steps and challenges in financial institution supervision, implementing controls in high-risk sectors, and pursuing investigations and prosecutions,” he said. 

Adeyemo also urged Nigeria to put reforms in place that will allow investors to bring capital into the country in a way that makes them feel secure and be able to take their money out when they choose to. “Ultimately the kind of investments you want in Nigeria is foreign direct investments and that will happen when companies feel comfortable putting in money here,” Adeyemo said.

(Updates with additional comments in last paragraph)


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