A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

23% of Nigerians purchase petrol above official pump price -Polls

petrol dispenserOscarline Onwuemenyi

16 January 2014, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – About twenty-three percent of Nigerians still purchase petroleum products above the official pump price, a new poll has found out.

Results of the survey conducted by NOI Polls Limited, a local affiliate of Gallup Polls USA, revealed that the 77% of Nigerians purchased petrol at the official price of N97 in Q4. This was followed by 13% who purchased at N100. However, in total, 23% of Nigerians bought petrol above the official price in Q4.

According to the Fourth Quarter (Q4) results for the Petrol Price Monitoring Polls conducted by NOIPolls, majority of Nigerians (77%) purchased petrol at the official price of N97 and typically buy petrol from major marketer filling stations (69%). In addition, the majority use petrol for both their cars and generators (46%).

The results also show that the majority of the respondents (62%) are not in support of the subsidy removal while 38% are in support.

According to the organisers, “Quarterly results show that there hasn’t been any significant change in the stance of Nigerians about removal of the fuel subsidy. The majority are not in support of the decision to remove the subsidy.”

In January 2012, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatroy 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 because over a trillion naira was spent in 2011 on the payment of subsidies. 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 the subsidy on petrol, thereby bringing the official pump price of petrol to N97.

The purpose of the poll, according to the organisers, is to monitor and analyse the current 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 and the removal of fuel subsidy.

Over 6,000 respondents were interviewed from January-December 2013 and respondents were asked the same ten questions for each monthly poll.

With the aim of identifying the main petrol distributors that Nigerians patronize, respondents to the poll were asked: Where do you mainly buy petrol from? Results reveal that in Q4 the majority (69%) buy petrol from major marketer filling stations. This is followed by 24% who mainly purchase from independent marketer filling stations and 7% who buy from petrol hawkers.

Analysis of the results by geo-political zones shows that the South-West has the highest percentage of people (78%) purchasing petrol from major marketer filling stations. The South-East zone has the highest percentage purchasing from independent marketer filling stations with 39%, while the North West and North-East zones have the highest percentage of people purchasing from the hawkers with 16% and 15% respectively.

Further analysis by geo-political zones shows that the South-West, North-Central, North East and South-East zones have the highest amount of respondents who bought petrol at N97 with 81% and 80% for the three other zones respectively.

A cumulative look at the prices paid for fuel in the 4th quarter shows that the proportion of respondents that bought at the official price of N97 was highest in November (83%) and this dropped to 75% in December.

When Q4 results are compared with Q3; there was no substantial change; only a 1% decrease in the proportion of respondents that purchases petrol at the official pump price. This indicates that the far-reaching improvement in the availability of petrol first observed in Q3 was sustained in Q4.

With the aim of exploring the perception of Nigerians about 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? The results show that majority (53%) of the respondents blamed the disparity in petrol price on the lack of monitoring of the petrol stations by governments. Furthermore, 27% of the respondents were of the opinion that the petrol stations are hoarding petrol and exploiting the public, while 20% felt that it is because the cost of importing petrol is not the same for all marketers.

Analysis by geo-political zones shows that the North-West and North-Central zones (both 60%) have the highest proportion of respondents who blamed the government for not monitoring the filling stations, while the North-East zone (43%) accounts for the highest proportion of respondents that feel the petrol stations are exploiting people. The South-East has the highest proportion of respondents (31%) that blame the price disparity on the varying cost of importation of petrol.

The monthly results for Q4 show that there was a sharp 15-point decline in November in the proportion of respondents who blamed the government for price disparity and corresponding 13-point increase in those that blame the actual stations for hoarding fuel. Furthermore, in December there was a 15-point increase in the proportion of respondents that think the price disparity observed is because the cost of importation petrol is not the same for all marketers.

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