Nigerian Senate President Promises Action on ‘Long-Delayed’ Oil Reform Law

The Senate president of Nigeria said that lawmakers will push the bill through the national assembly despite forces “working desperately” to derail a long-delayed oil overhaul bill.

20 years in the making, the measure underpins everything from oil exploration to gas pipelines and regulation of fuel. It was sent to the Senate in September by President Muhammadu Buhari, who passed the first reading in both chambers before the end of 2020.

The bill would affect the dynamics of the state oil company NNPC, amend the taxes on oil and gas and revenue sharing, and create new regulatory bodies to make the oil sector in Nigeria more dynamic and efficient, among other things.

According to Reuters Africa, due to the contentious nature of any change to oil taxes, terms of exploration, and revenue sharing, the laws governing Nigeria’s oil and gas exploration have not been fully updated since the 1960s.

With the other key bill – the 2021 budget – now signed into law, when the national assembly reconvenes later this month, the petroleum bill will be the first priority.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said people were fighting to scuttle the oil reform inside and outside Nigeria.

But he compared the bill to a law passed in 2019 to increase the takeover of offshore oil revenues by the government, one that oil companies opposed and considered a “joke,” he said.

Within weeks of its introduction, the national assembly passed it and it was quickly signed by President Buhari.

“That is what we intend to do with the PIB (Petroleum Industries Bill) by the grace of God,” Lawan revealed.

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