A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

50% of Nigerians buy fuel at over N97, poll finds

Fuel-ScarcityOscarline Onwuemenyi 16 July 2013, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The second quarter results for the Petrol Pump Price Monitoring Polls conducted by NOI Polls Limited has revealed that between April and June 2013, an average of 52 percent Nigerians (about 45.2 million Nigerians) are still buying petrol above the official pump price of N97 per litre.

This marks a five-point decline from an average of 57 percent in first quarter of 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.

In January 2012, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, along with government announced an increase in the price of petrol from N65 to N141 as a result of the removal of subsidy for the reason that over a trillion naira was spent in 2011 on subsidy.

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. View Quarter 1 results here.

A statement from the pollsters noted 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.

It added that over 3,000 respondents were 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.

In order to determine the main petrol distributors that Nigerians patronize and analyze 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%.

A comparison of Q1 2013 and Q2 2013 findings indicates a 6-point drop in the percentage of purchases from major marketer filling stations and a 7-point increase in the purchase from hawkers. The increase in purchase from hawkers may be as a result of security issues in the North-East region (as is evident in a previous NOI Security Poll) because distribution of petrol in that region may have reduced and invariably put the product in the black market.

Averages across a six month period indicate the following for 2013: 58% of Nigerians purchase petrol from major marketer filling stations, 34% purchase from independents while an average of 8% purchase from hawkers.

In order to estimate the average cost of petrol in Nigeria as well as measure the percentage of Nigerians who buy above the official pump price, the respondents to the poll were asked: How much do you normally buy petrol? Responses indicate that 48% of Nigerians between April and June, bought petrol at N97 the official pump price, while 52% bought in varying percentages above the pump price.

The South-West zone with 68% makes up the highest proportion of respondents who bought at N97, while the North-East with 72% (at varying percentages bought at different prices) makes up the highest proportion of respondents who bought petrol above N97, it also makes up the highest proportion of respondents who bought petrol above N130 with 16%. This ties in with the previous explanation about the security issues and shows that those buying from hawkers invariably pay more for petrol.

A comparison between Q1 and Q2 2013 findings show a 5-point increase in the percentage of Nigerians who paid N97 to purchase petrol. Averages across a six month period also indicates that an average of about 55 percent of Nigerians are buying petrol above the official pump price in 2013.

In order to ascertain the main uses of petrol in Nigeria, the respondents to the poll were asked: What do you normally use petrol for? Responses indicate that like quarter one of 2013, Nigerians still mainly use petrol for generators (an average of 73%). This is followed by use of petrol for cars by 51% and then use for motorcycles and machinery by 16% and 4% respectively.

A comparison of Q1 and Q2 2013 results show an 8-point increase in the use of petrol for generators (Q1: 67 percent, Q2: 73 percent) and an 8-point drop in the use of petrol for cars (Q1: 59 percent, Q2: 51%). This indicates that the power supply in the second quarter may have deteriorated, leading to more people using generators.

Averages across a six month period indicate the following averages in 2013: 70% of Nigerians use petrol for generators, 55% for cars, 15% for motorcycles and 4% for machinery.

In order to measure the perception of Nigerians towards the causes of price differences of petrol at the points of sale, the respondents to the poll were asked: What do you think is responsible for the difference in the pump price of petrol across filling stations?

Between April and June, 70% of Nigerians were of the opinion that the main reason for price differences is the fact that the government is not monitoring the filling stations, this is followed by 25% who blamed it on hoarding by petrol stations and the final 16% were of the opinion that price differences is caused by the differences in price of petrol importation.

The North-East zone makes up the highest proportion of respondents (with 73%) who blamed the price differences on lack of government monitoring and this is the same zone that experienced high prices of petrol and buy from hawkers, so their responses tie in with previous results. The North-West zone makes up the highest percentage of respondents who blame price disparities on hoarding (with 33%).

A comparison of Q1 and Q2 2013 findings shows a 1-point increase in the percentage of people who blamed lack of government monitoring. There is a 7-point increase in Q2 of respondents who blamed hoarding, and an 8-point increase of Nigerians who blamed the varying prices of petrol importation. This indicates that between Q1 and Q2 2013, some Nigerians shifted from blaming the cost of importation to blaming petrol station hoarding for price disparities and this in turn means that regulation and monitoring of petrol pump price is being questioned by Nigerians.

Averages across a six month period indicate the following for 2013: About 60% of Nigerians blame price differences at points of purchase on lack of government monitoring, 21% blame hoarding by filling stations and 20% blame the varying prices of importation.

The findings of this poll make it clear that Nigerians are still buying petrol above the pump price and blame the differences in pump prices mainly on lack of monitoring of petrol pump prices. The poll result also shows that Nigerians mainly use petrol for generators. Furthermore it leads to the question of whether the fuel subsidy policy is working and whether the price of petrol should be regulated or allowed to be controlled by market forces. Probably, after another quarter of polling or at the end of the year (Q4), a clearer picture may emerge to answer these questions.

The opinion poll was conducted between January and June 2013. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample of over 3000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed.

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