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New Bill to Unlock Nigeria’s Oil Earning Potential

Nigeria’s journey to the Petroleum Industry Act started in 2000 under President Olusegun Obasanjo, who inaugurated an oil and gas sector reform implementation committee. The committee’s report formed the basis of the first Petroleum Industry Bill eight years later. It was submitted to the National Assembly but not passed. Nor was it passed under the next president, Goodluck Jonathan. President Muhammadu Buhari also declined assent to it in 2018 because of some provisions. It was finally passed by the National Assembly on 1 July 2021 and signed into law by Buhari. The act is key to expanding the fortunes of Nigeria’s petroleum industry. It stands to remove the uncertainty that has led to a significant reduction in investment in exploration and production. If properly implemented, the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation will be purely commercial with the intention of maximising its return on investment. At the moment the national oil company is encumbered with having the role of an agency and less focus on making money for stakeholders. Hence it has not declared any profits since inception in 1977.