…Only 68% of Nigerians aware of pump price reduction
Oscarline Onwuemenyi 21 January 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Despite assurances by government officials over enforcement of the new pump price of petrol across the country, latest public opinion poll results released by NOIPolls Limited have revealed that most Nigerians are currently buying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, at an average of ₦116 per litre across the country; with the South East geo-political zone accounting for the highest average sale of ₦128 per litre.
This latest finding corroborates recent findings from the National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) PMS Watch that Nigerians bought petrol at an average of ₦119.61k in the month of December 2015.
Furthermore, the poll conducted in the week commencing January 11, 2016 revealed significant availability of petroleum products, as 77 percent of respondents across the country acknowledged the availability of petrol, albeit above the official pump price of ₦86 and ₦86.50k for NNPC and Independent filling stations respectively.
On the contrary, only 8 percent of respondents affirmed that they currently buy petrol at ₦86 or ₦86.50k in their locality, with the majority of these respondents residing in the North-Central geo-political zone, one which also enjoys 82 percent availability of the product.
This seeming availability of petrol and high compliance to the pump price within the North Central zone may be attributed to its proximity with the Federal Capital Territory, which makes the region easily accessible for inspection by agents of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) who seem to have stepped up their monitoring efforts lately.
It is also interesting to note that the new poll also showed that only 68 percent Nigerians interviewed claimed to be aware of the reduction of petrol pump price from ₦87 to ₦86 or ₦86.50k per litre; with about 7 in 10 of this proportion positively affirming the fairness of the new pump prices.
The Federal Government through the Petroleum Pump Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced on the 30th of December 2015 that the new pump price for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol is N86 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) retail stations while other independent retail marketers will sell the product at N86.50 per litre.
This prices according to PPPRA is a quarterly price template subject to renewal every 3 months in consideration of the falling and unpredictable global market oil prices.
Nonetheless, there are varying reactions by Nigerians about these new prices owing to the continued drop in global crude oil price which stood at 30 dollars per barrel as at 13th January 2016.
Some Nigerians opine that there is no significant difference in the new pump prices, arguing that it should be dropped further. According to a poll released by NOIPolls on May 12, 2015, 90 percent of Nigerians bought Petrol above the formal official rate of N87 per litre, prompting the question of compliance to this new price.
In the light of the above, NOIPolls conducted a public opinion poll to ascertain the opinions & perceptions of Nigerians regarding the new pump prices and availability of petrol across the nation.
On January 1, 2016, the Federal Government effected a reduction in the pump price of petrol to ₦86 and ₦86.50k per litre respectively. To gauge the awareness of Nigerians on this subject, respondents were asked: Are you aware of the introduction of the new petrol price of ₦86 and ₦86.50k respectively by the Federal Government on the 1st of January 2016? Findings revealed that most Nigerians (68 percent) are aware of the reduction of petrol pump price by ₦1 and 50k respectively by the Federal Government and residents from the North-West zone accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians (81 percent) who are conscious of the change in the pump price of petrol.
On the contrary, fewer respondents (32 percent) disclosed that they are not aware of such development since they buy the product above the said price and respondents from the South-East accounted for the highest number of Nigerians who are not mindful of the new pump price.
This latest poll by NOIPolls has further strengthened recent findings from NBS that Nigerians currently buy petrol at ₦116, above the newly approved pump price of ₦86 and ₦86.50k per litre.
The poll also revealed that 77 percent of Nigerians affirmed the availability of the product nationwide.
However, only 8 percent claimed that they bought the product at ₦86 or ₦86.50k per litre; with the majority of this meagre proportion residing in the North-Central geo-political zone. In conclusion, these findings hold very important policy implications for the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) amongst others.
While DPR appears to have stepped up with monitoring oversight of filling stations across the country, compliance levels are still very much dependent on sources of petroleum products. In order words, where Independent petroleum marketers source their products from and the landing costs to their filling station would determine how much they would decide to sell.
There’s need for the Ministry to keep track of cost of petroleum products at the various depots and jetties across the country. It is simply anti-capitalistic and unhealthy to expect petroleum marketers to sell at a pump below their cost of purchase. Besides, price variations may need to be considered across regions to adequately cater for differentials in landing costs to filling stations, which tend to ultimately decide how much marketers are willing to sell at the pump.