Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber, House of Representatives, has passed oil industry reform bill into law 17 years after the bill was brought to the National Assembly.

The version of the bill passed is the same as the one passed by the Senate in 2017. Thus, making it the first time in the 17 years struggle that both chambers will be passing the same oil industry bill.

It is important to note that the legislation passed into law by both houses is just a section of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The PIB was broken up into different sections to facilitate its quick passage by the National Assembly.

The first part passed into law is known as the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).

“The PIGB, as passed yesterday, is the same as passed by the Senate. We have harmonised everything and formed the National Assembly Joint Committee on PIB,” said Alhassan Ado Doguwa, spokesperson for the lower legislative house.

“Every consideration of the bills is now under the joint committee. We have broken the jinx after 17 years. We are working on the other accompanying bills.”

The PIGB deals mainly with the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The other two sections will take care of operations of Multinational oil corporations and host communities where these oil fields are located.

Oil & gas stakeholders’ reaction to the bill passage

Stakeholders in the industry have praised the development as a step forward in the move towards reformation of country’s cash-cow.

The speaker for the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said that: “the new legislation will be transmitted to the President within the next few days.”

Dogara added that NNPC would be unbundled as a result of the legislation going through.

The PIGB would create four new entities whose powers would include the ability to conduct bid rounds, award exploration licences and make recommendations to the oil minister on upstream licences.

Anthony Goldman of PM Consulting told Reuters that: “It’s an unprecedented step forward. The PIB is something that has defied the last two governments.”

“The detail of what is agreed will determine the extreme to which the bill takes politics out of the sector and tackles systemic corruption.”