The number of Nigerians who purchased petrol above the official N97 price peaked at 78 per cent in the month of March, a survey by NOI Polls Limited, a notable indigenous polling agency, has shown.
According to the agency, the first quarter results of the petrol price monitoring polls revealed a significant 47-point increase in the proportion of Nigerians who bought petrol above the official pump price from 31 per cent in January to 78 per cent in March.
It said, “The result obtained in March 2014 represents the highest proportion of respondents who purchased petrol above N97 in the 15 months of conducting the polls which started from January 2013.”
NOI Polls said the 2014 first quarter’s figure represents the second highest obtained in the quarterly trend on the purchase of petrol above the official price, after peaking in first quarter of 2013 at 58 per cent.
It said more findings revealed that an average of 64 per cent of Nigerians bought petrol from major marketer filling stations in the first quarter of 2014.
“However, monthly trend analysis shows a downward trend with a substantial 32-point decline, from78 per cent in January to 46 per cent in March , in the proportion of Nigerians who purchased petrol from major marketer filling stations,” the agency said in a document made available to our correspondent in Abuja.
It noted that the findings highlighted the adverse effects of the crippling fuel scarcity experienced across Nigeria in the first quarter of 2014.
In January 2012, the Federal Government and its Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency announced an increase in the price of petrol from N65 to N141 as a result of the removal of subsidy.
The subsidy removal, according to the government, was because over N1tn was spent in 2011 in subsidising fuel.
This sparked days of protest by Nigerians led by organised labour and civil society groups who were unhappy with the perceived hardship this action would cause Nigerians and the lack of notice by the government to carry out such plans.
In line with this, the government as a stop-gap measure partially removed subsidy, thereby bringing the official pump price of petrol to N97.
In January 2014, Nigeria experienced a fresh round of acute scarcity in the supply of petrol nationwide that persisted over the first quarter.
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, at the time, said the scarcity was triggered by the delay of the PPPRA in releasing the approval for the first quarter fuel importation.
Meanwhile, NOI Polls noted that the purpose of the survey was to monitor and analyse the current price and uses of petrol in Nigeria, as well as to measure the perception of Nigerians towards the fuel price differences at various points of sale.