By Clara Nwachukwu and Sebastine Obasi
Despite the huge subsidy and petroleum equalisation paid by the Federal Government to enable Nigerians buy petrol at regulated price of N97/litre, the reality is that more than half of Nigerians still buy the product above the prescribed amount.
A survey released Tuesday in Abuja, by the Finance Minister’s private agency, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, NOI Polls Limited, has shown that at least five in every 10 Nigerians bought premium motor spirit or petrol above the regulated pump price of N97/L.
Already, the Ministry of Finance disclosed on Monday that about N240.5billion have been paid for subsidy claims in 2013 alone, thus negating the policy of the subsidy regime since Nigerians still buy the product above the pump price.
Findings of Poll
The NOI in its report said: “The second quarter results for the Petrol Pump Price Monitoring Pollsconducted by NOI Polls Limited reveal that between April and June 2013, an average of 52 percent adult Nigerians (about 45.2 million Nigerian adults) are still buying petrol above the official pump price of N97 per litre. This marks a 5-point decline from an average of 57 percent in Q1 2013.
“The poll further indicates that 6 in 10 Nigerians (60%) blame the differences in petrol price on lack of government monitoring of petrol sales. These form part of the findings of the polls for Quarter 2 (Q2), 2013.”
NOI said the poll findings were determined by administering a questionnaire to respondents “In order to determine the main petrol distributors that Nigerians patronise and analyse their purchase trends, respondents to the poll were asked: Where do you mainly buy petrol from?
“The responses indicate that in Q2 of 2013, 55% of Nigerians bought petrol from major marketer filling stations. This is followed by 34% of Nigerians who bought from independent marketer filling stations then 11% who bought from hawkers.
“The North-Central and South-West zones have the highest percentage of Nigerians purchasing petrol from major marketer filling stations with 64% and 62% respectively. The South-East zone has the highest percentage of people purchasing from independent marketer filling stations with 46 percent, while the North-East zone has the highest percentage of people purchasing from hawkers with 28%.
Need for poll
The agency explained that: “The purpose of the poll is to monitor and analyse the current pump price and uses of petrol in Nigeria, as well as to measure the perception of Nigerians towards the petrol price differences at various points of sale.”
As a result, NOI said the poll became expedient, following the January 2012 national crisis on petrol pump price increase from N65 to N141 as a result of the removal of subsidy in which over N1trillion was spent in 2011.
“After days of protest by Nigerians led by organised labour and civil societies who were unhappy about the perceived hardship this action would cause Nigerians and the lack of notice by the government to carry out such plans, the government as a stop-gap measure partially removed subsidy, bringing the official pump price of petrol to N97.
“In the course of and following the 2012 subsidy protest and partial removal of subsidy by government, many debates arose with erroneous and inaccurate information passed across as the truth, indicating a need for a dependable measure of public opinion on issues surrounding public policies. This led NOI Polls in January 2013 to initiate the Petrol Pump Price Monitoring Project. This result release is the second quarterly release in the series.”
The agency further noted that: “Over 3000 respondents have been interviewed across six months (January-June) and the respondents are asked ten questions for each monthly poll, but only five of these have been reviewed in this report.”