February 21, 2017 / 8:01 PM / 6 months ago

Nigerian senate aims for March final reading of oil governance bill

ABUJA, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Nigeria's senate aims to present an oil governance bill for its third and final reading by the end of March, a leading senator said on Tuesday, as part of a series intended to overhaul the oil sector.

The legislation is part of proposed reforms that make up the sprawling Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has been in discussion for over a decade and redrafted many times but has yet to be passed into law.

Its backers say Nigeria's oil sector is in dire need of change, with power currently concentrated in the state oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the oil ministry.

The overarching bill's latest iteration aims to tackle everything from an overhaul of the NNPC to taxes on upstream projects in a sector riddled with corruption.

"We hope to present the (governance) bill for the third and final reading not later than the end of March 2017," said Senator Tayo Alasoadura, who coordinates committees handling the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.

Bills need the support of both houses of parliament and the approval of the President before becoming law.

However, there has been little agreement over the years on what the oil sector changes should be.

In a draft seen by Reuters, Nigeria aimed to split the NNPC into multiple parts to help ease a planned stake sale in the coming years. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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