ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s senate will debate a long-awaited oil industry reform bill after receiving the draft law on Thursday, the latest step in efforts to overhaul the energy sector in Africa’s largest economy.
The legislation is part of proposed reforms that make up the sprawling Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been in discussion for over a decade and redrafted many times but has yet to be passed into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May 2015, made passing the legislation a priority as part of an attempt to crackdown on the mismanagement and corruption that has held back the country’s energy sector. Oil sales account for two-thirds of government revenue in the OPEC member state.
The bill’s acceptance into the upper house marks the closest it has yet come to becoming law, said Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“I think we are all proud that we have gone this far and we have finally broken this jinx,” he said.
Once the senate has approved the bill, it will be sent to the lower chamber of parliament. With the approval of both, the final version will be sent to the president to be signed into law.
Its backers say Nigeria’s oil sector is in dire need of change, with power currently concentrated in the state oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the petroleum ministry.
Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Paul Carsten, editing by David Evans