Nigerian lawmakers to fast-track passage of oil bill – senate president’s office – Reuters

SARAKI-PRESI

ABUJA Oct 4 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s lawmakers will prioritise and fast-track the passage of a long-awaited bill to reform the OPEC member’s petroleum industry, the Senate president’s office said on Tuesday.

The petroleum industry bill (PIB), which covers everything from an overhaul of state oil company NNPC to taxes on upstream projects, has been stuck in parliament for a decade. Its passage is central to President Muhammadu Buhari’s reform plans.

Nigeria, which has Africa’s biggest economy, has fallen into recession for the first time in more than 20 years largely due to low oil prices which have cut government revenues because crude sales make up about 70 percent of national income.

“The Senate has resolved to prioritise and fast-track the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and other legislations capable of contributing to the quick recovery of the national economy,” said the statement, adding that the aim was to provide a “favourable” environment for investors.

It said the PIB’s passage was part of a 20-point resolution passed by the upper house of parliament as its “legislative intervention to speedily pull Nigeria out of the current economic recession”. But the statement did not provide a likely timeline for the bill’s passage.

The government has already split the bill in two in an attempt to streamline its passage, and a draft seen by Reuters earlier this year included plans to divide NNPC into two companies and sell stakes in a portion of it. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)