Nigeria - PIB Law Is Test For Goodluck Jonathan's Presidency


Nigeria's landmark energy bill could revive Africa's biggest oil industry and improve President Goodluck Jonathan's reputation, but rebellious lawmakers will seriously test his resolve to push it through in its present form.
The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would bring root and branch reform to an industry that produces 80 percent of government revenues but has been plagued by corruption and mismanagement for decades.

The bill has been stuck in parliament for more than five years, casting a cloud of regulatory uncertainty over the sector and driving billions of dollars of investment away to rival oil producing nations. If the uncertainty is left unresolved, oil revenues could soon start falling.
The wide-ranging bill would change working terms for oil majors like Shell and Exxon and partly privatise the national oil firm, but has been held up as government and oil firms argued over terms.
Nigeria is among the world's top ten oil exporters and a key supplier to the United States, China and Europe because its light, sweet crude is ideal for making motor fuel. It is home to the world's seventh-largest gas reserves and has more proven oil in the ground than the rest of sub-Saharan Africa combined.
If Jonathan can pass the bill, it could help restore a presidency battered by an Islamist insurgency in the north, an abortive attempt to remove a popular fuel subsidy and a raft of corruption scandals, since he won an election last year.
"As a president who came to power with a landmark reform agenda, the passage and implementation of the PIB will provide a key gauge of Jonathan's performance in office," said Roddy Barclay, West Africa analyst at Control Risks, a consultancy.
"Having suffered numerous damaging public setbacks in recent months, making headway on this key piece of legislation would go some way to restoring his international standing."

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