Nigerian president signs long-delayed oil bill into law


The President of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.) on Monday signed a long-awaited oil and gas bill into law as Africa's largest crude producer aims to attract more foreign investment to its ailing petroleum industry.

Nearly two decades after the bill was first introduced in the parliament, The House of Representatives and Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in early July.

The presidency in a statement on Monday said that Buhari "assented to the bill on Monday" after he returned from his trip to London for a medical check.

It added that "the ceremonial part of the new legislation will be done on Wednesday" after the president leaves self-isolation, in line with Covid protocols following an overseas trip.

Nigeria, an OPEC member, has lured only a small fraction of global petroleum investments, long troubled by corruption, inefficiency, high production costs and security concerns.

The new law is expected to provide a clearer framework and simplify taxes and royalties for energy companies.

Nigeria currently produces around 1.9 million barrels of oil per day (BPD).

Income from energy sales accounts for almost all foreign exchange earnings and about half of government revenue, although the sector badly needs investment.

The government is worried about the pressure of time, as the world's interest in oil and financing fossil fuel projects diminishes due to climate change.

Under the new legislation, the state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) will be overhauled to better separate commercial and regulatory roles.

The PIB also seeks to address demands from local communities after years of underdevelopment and environmental damage in Nigeria's oil-producing states.

Companies will be required to invest three per cent of their operating expenses into local projects -- a lower figure than the five and 10 per cent some representatives had asked for.

Some community leaders said they were at last compensated for the oil resources in their regions while others said it fell short of expectations.

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