Nigerian Parliament opens debate on PIB overhaul bill

Both houses of Nigeria’s parliament have finished a first reading of a bill meant to overhaul the oil industry, opening the way for lawmakers to debate the long awaited legislation, the speaker said. The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is meant to address issues across the sector, from fiscal terms to the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC). Its comprehensive nature has led to various disputes between lawmakers, ministers and the major oil companies that have held it back for more than five years.
The lower house read the bill on Thursday, speaker Aminu Tambuwal said, while the Senate read it last week. A previous draft never got through parliament, although this time the bill has explicit backing from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who approved the latest draft last month. Oil majors like leading operator Royal Dutch Shell are concerned about the taxes in the bill, and are likely to lobby hard for it to be amended.