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U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Challenges Nigeria over Economic Reforms

The United States government has urged Nigeria to prioritize four critical economic reforms aimed at achieving financial stability, eradicating corruption, safeguarding the integrity of its financial system, and establishing a fiscal strategy to stimulate investments in vital sectors of the economy.

In an address delivered at the Lagos Business School (LBS), titled “U.S.- Nigeria Economic Relations: People, Entrepreneurship and Investment,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Wally Adeyemo, emphasized the significance of these reforms for Nigeria’s economic prosperity.

Adeyemo’s speech centered on four reform priorities:

  1. Stable Naira and Foreign Exchange Unification: Adeyemo stressed the importance of a stable naira, highlighting that unifying Nigeria’s foreign exchange rates could attract foreign investment, thus promoting macroeconomic stability. He commended the government’s efforts in this regard.
  2. Fiscal Strategy Implementation: He acknowledged the challenges associated with ending fuel subsidies but underscored their importance in generating resources for investments in infrastructure, education, and small business development. Adeyemo emphasized the role of international partners like the World Bank and African Development Bank in supporting Nigeria during this transition.
  3. Combating Corruption: Adeyemo emphasized the need to address corruption and the perception of corruption in Nigeria’s business environment. He proposed measures such as digitizing government functions and enhancing transparency to reduce opportunities for corruption.
  4. Financial System Integrity: Protecting the integrity of Nigeria’s financial system is crucial to prevent money laundering and illicit financial activities. Adeyemo urged measures to enhance the security of the banking system.

Adeyemo reiterated the United States’ readiness to partner with Nigeria in these economic reforms, highlighting that a prosperous Nigeria benefits both countries. He applauded Nigeria’s commitment to collaborate with the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

In his closing remarks, Adeyemo emphasized the potential of Nigeria’s people and businesses, highlighting the significance of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that employ over 80 percent of Nigerians. He underscored the importance of government policies evolving from being a hindrance to becoming solutions for these businesses.

Adeyemo shared his personal connection to Nigeria, as a child of the diaspora, and expressed his deep admiration for Nigerian culture and resilience. He acknowledged that Nigeria has made progress but noted the need for accelerated economic opportunity expansion.

The Vice Chancellor of the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Prof. Enase Okonedo, welcomed Adeyemo’s visit to the LBS, emphasizing the institution’s role in fostering conversations that drive progress and influence policies.

 

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