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Nigerian lawmakers target April or May to pass oil reform bill

A woman walks over pipelines crisscrossing Ogoniland in Rivers State, Nigeria September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s parliament will pass the long-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill by the second quarter of 2021, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said during a parliamentary session on Monday.

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

“This bill will be passed the second quarter of this year,” Lawan said, adding that lawmakers were targeting April or May.

The head of Nigeria’s state oil company said in June that despite delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the bill would be passed by the end of 2020, marking the latest missed target in two decades.

The bill would change the structure of state oil company NNPC, amend oil and gas taxes and revenue-sharing and create new regulatory bodies, among other things, to make Nigeria’s oil sector more dynamic and efficient.

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

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Catherine Evans and Alexander Smith

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