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Nigerian leader vows new oil bill in June

Goodluck Jonathon says his new petroleum industry bill will meet the aspirations of all stakeholders (© 2009 AFP)

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday pledged that work on legislation years in the making to overhaul Africa’s largest oil industry would be completed in June and sent to parliament.

Jonathan made the comments in a nationally broadcast speech to mark Democracy Day — the date presidents are sworn into office — and the one-year anniversary since he took the oath following 2011 elections.

“We are re-drafting the petroleum industry bill to ensure it meets the aspirations of all stakeholders given the current realities and future expectations in the global energy landscape,” Jonathan said.

“Work on the (bill) will be concluded in June this year and formally submitted to the National Assembly.”

The bill has been in the works in different forms for years.

One of the initial aims of the bill was to allow Nigeria’s government to collect more revenue from lucrative offshore projects as well as restructure the NNPC state oil company, widely viewed as corruption-ridden.

The government has repeatedly given deadlines in the past for when the overhaul would be set in motion, but all have passed without action.

Uncertainty over the new regulations has led to a freeze in fresh investment in Nigeria’s oil industry, with major firms holding off on making such decisions until details on new tax and royalty rates come into focus.

Analysts have warned that Nigeria risks jeopardising future oil production with the delay, saying the country must either approve the bill in some form or decide to stick with the current arrangements.

Signature : ABUJA (AFP)

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