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Buhari agrees on PIB, forwards to Senate for approval

The pressure is back on Nigeria’s legislative chamber as Reuters is reporting president Muhammadu Buhari has signed the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) which will be presented in the Senate as early as next week.

Four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday the national assembly has already chosen teams of members who will work most closely on individual portions of the bill.

Excerpts from the bill seen by Reuters included provisions that would streamline and reduce some oil and gas royalties, boost the amount of money companies pay to local communities and for environmental clean-ups and alter the dispute resolution process between companies and the government.

It also included measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and a framework for gas tariffs and delivery.

The PIGB is one of four bills carved out from the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The PIB was split in order to fast track the necessary reforms, having been stalled at the National Assembly since 2008.

The other bills are the fiscal regime bill, upstream and midstream administration bill, and the petroleum revenue bill.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives must approve it before Buhari can sign it into law.

For most stakeholders, there is no telling when the PIB will become law this year. But it is clear that the uncertainty over the bill has been a major drag on the industry over the years, significantly limiting its ability to attract both local and foreign capital at a time when many other countries are scrambling to exploit their oil and gas resources.

Although Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and boasts the second-largest proven oil reserves and the largest gas reserves, it lags behind several other continental producers in reforms.