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ABUJA, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Nigeria will pass a Petroleum Industry Bill by mid-2020, Minister of Petroleum Timipre Sylva said on Monday, the latest assurance that the legislation would be enacted after nearly two decades of wrangling.
The lack of a bill "really brings a lot of uncertainty to the investment climate", and passing it is essential to attract much-needed funding to Nigeria's oil sector, Sylva said.
The bill has seen various incarnations under successive administrations, but none has managed to sign it into law. The resulting regulatory uncertainty has left oil companies and investors lukewarm about putting their money into Nigeria, Africa's largest crude producer.
The most recent version of the bill was during President Muhammadu Buhari's first term, but disagreements between lawmakers and the executive saw the leader reject parliament's efforts.
Now, the relationship between the legislature and the presidency is on better footing, and could pave the way for a smoother drafting and adoption of the bill.
"We are on the same page as the National Assembly," Sylva said, referring to Nigeria's parliament, adding that he hoped international oil majors were also on board. (Reporting by Libby George and Camillus Eboh; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Louise Heavens and Giles Elgood)