NewsWest AfricaNigeria's parliament aims to pass major oil reforms by July


Posted on Thursday, 10 May 2018 11:19

Nigeria's parliament aims to pass major oil reforms by July

By Reuters

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, waves after a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.Photo: Azeez Akunleyan/AP/SIPANigeria's parliament aims to pass a long-delayed bill to overhaul the oil sector by the end of July, Senate President Bukola Saraki told Reuters.

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which aims to improve transparency, attract investors and stimulate growth, has been debated for more than a decade and was broken into sections to help it pass into law.

The PIB was discussed for some 17 years before the governance bill was passed by both houses of parliament in January. This raised hopes that the other parts would be passed soon after.

The other three parts -- the fiscal, administrative and host community bills -- are yet to be passed.

Nigeria is an OPEC member and Africa's largest oil producer.

Crude sales make up two-thirds of government revenue but the sector's development has been held back for decades by mismanagement.

Saraki said the aim was to ensure all three remaining parts of the legislation were passed by the National Assembly before it went on holiday in July.

Hindering implementation of Buhari's spending plans

Any bills passed by lawmakers would have to be signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari. The governance bill, passed in January, is still awaiting his approval.

Growth remains weak in Nigeria's economy as it continues to emerge from its 2016 recession, the country's first full-year contraction in 25 years. The recession was largely caused by low crude prices and militant attacks on energy facilities.

With economic growth still slow, there have been calls for parliament to complete its work on the record 8.6 trillion naira ($27.39 billion) budget that was presented to the legislature by President Muhammadu Buhari in November.

Any changes made by lawmakers must be sent back to Buhari for approval.

Delays in passing budgets, amid wrangling between the executive and legislature, are common in Nigeria and hindered the implementation of Buhari's previous spending plans.

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