Stabilising the naira, fighting corruption and curbing money laundering are key priority areas for Nigeria, the Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury Wally Adeyemo said.    

The US administration supports reforms implemented by Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu even though they were difficult for many in Africa's biggest economy, Adeyemo said.     

"This is a critical moment in Nigeria," Adeyemo, who is representing President Joe Biden and the US government in its attempts to strengthen the US-Africa economic and trade ties with Nigeria, said in a speech in Lagos on Monday.       

"First, Nigeria needs a stable Naira," he said at the Lagos Business School. "Unifying Nigeria's foreign exchange rates will create the kind of macroeconomic stability that is essential to attracting foreign investment."     

Adeyemo, the son of Nigerian immigrants to the US and the senior-most member of African descent in the Biden administration, is on a three-day visit from September 17-19.        

Tinubu, who is currently in the US to attended the UN General Assembly meetings where he will also hold talks with American company executives, has removed currency controls and plans to unify the official and black markets to ease investment flows.    

Tinubu also ended a fuel subsidy he said was draining the government's coffers of money that could be used for development.     

Both measures have led to the sharp weakening of the naira and sent inflation to its highest in 18 years, and drawn protests from unions. 

Tinubu has said the changes would lead to longer term benefits, and has pledged the economy will grow by 6% annually during his tenure. 

Adeyemo backed Tinubu's decision on removing the fuel subsidy, and said the second priority for Nigeria's government was to invest in key sectors.    

"I recognize the decision to end fuel subsidies is hard for many Nigerian households, but it was an important early step to create resources the government can use to invest in physical and digital infrastructure, education, and a strong small business environment," he said.

To spur growth even further, rooting out of corruption and ridding the financial system of such acts as money-laundering were also key, he said.

(Editing by Seban Scaria