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Nigeria Finance Minister Blames Lobbying for Stalled Oil Reforms

Nigerian lawmakers haven’t passed a long-delayed oil industry reform bill because of “intensive lobbying by interest groups,” Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

Foreign and Nigerian groups “benefit from the status quo either through favorable oil deals or favorable treatment by the Nigerian tax system,” she wrote in an opinion piece in the London-based Financial Times. “We call on these groups to allow the bill’s passage. And we urge our National Assembly to have the courage to pass this long overdue bill now.”

The proposed Petroleum Industry Bill seeks to reform the way the country’s oil and gas industry is funded and regulated, transforming the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., or NNPC, into a commercial enterprise. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA run joint ventures with NNPC that pump most of Nigeria’s crude.

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