Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Nigeria's senate to consider oil overhaul bill on Thursday

Nigeria's senate presented a long-awaited oil overhaul bill to the full chamber for passage on Tuesday and will consider it by the end of the week, according to an order paper and the senate president.

President Muhammadu Buhari sent the bill to the National Assembly in September last year. The senate package is the result of months of consultations between national assembly members and oil companies, local communities and other stakeholders.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the chamber would "commence passage" of the bill on Thursday.

"Every senator must have a copy today," Lawan said. "We would be considering the report on Thursday."

The bill aims to modernise Nigeria's petroleum industry and attract a shrinking pool of global fossil fuel investment dollars. Observers had hoped the political alignment of the presidency and the National Assembly would break a cycle of failure that has stalked overhaul efforts for 20 years.

But the House has not updated its timeline for considering the bill, and sources told Reuters the chamber could be a bigger obstacle to quick passage.

There are pending demands for big changes to the bill, including from community leaders seeking an increased share of revenue.

This week, national assembly leaders from northern Nigeria pressed for a greater share of oil revenue for "frontier" communities where there is petroleum exploration. Meetings with key leaders continued into Monday evening without resolution, and a failure to reach a deal with those leaders could scupper passage before the summer recess, pushing its earliest approval to September.

By Libby George


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