Nigerians Groan Over High Cost of Petrol; Lamenting Economic Hardship & High Cost Of Living

Abuja, Nigeria. June, 2016 – Latest public opinion poll results released by NOIPolls Limited have revealed that the larger proportions of Nigerians (74 percent) are currently not in support of the increase in petrol pump price. This stance has been greatly influenced by the perceived resulting effect of the increase; where Nigerians lamented over ‘economic hardship of the masses’ (41 percent), ‘Increased cost of living’ (40 percent), ‘increase in prices of goods and services’ (8 percent) and ‘Increase in cost of transportation’ (5 percent), among others. In a different light, some Nigerians are in support of the increase, backing their position with the ready availability of petrol (43 percent) at filling stations, while also believing that the increase is ‘the best option for Nigeria’ (18 percent),  and ‘subsidy money will be put to better use’ (15 percent) among others. 

Interestingly, the poll gave an insight on the actual reality regarding the increase in petrol pricing and total subsidy removal in Nigeria, when the results were compared to an earlier poll conducted on subsidy removal by NOIPolls in April 2016; where analysis showed an almost equal divide in the proportion of Nigerians in support (48 percent) and not in support (52 percent) of the subsidy removal. This comparison depicts that while the opinion of Nigerians on subsidy removal with respect to the April poll was a close call and an expression of mixed feelings, however recent poll has revealed that due to harsh economic impacts of the price increase on Nigerians, many are beginning to reconsider their position on subsidy removal with more Nigerians (74 percent) expressing dissatisfaction with the new petrol pricing. 

Finally, while the increase may have directly or indirectly resulted in the ready availability of petrol nationwide as affirmed by the majority (86 percent), Nigerians  (88 percent)  have reported negative effects of the increase,  especially in cost of transportation (33 percent), cost of goods and service’ (24 percent) and spending pattern (17 percent), which has all been impacted significantly. Thus these findings therefore gives a clear indication that in future government deliberations and decisions on petrol pricing and subsidy removal, careful consideration needs to be given to the economic atmosphere and the impact of petrol pricing to the end user and Nigerians at large. These are the key findings from the Petrol Poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week of June 6th 2016.

 Brief Background

On the heels of a prolonged fuel crisis that had lingered for months, a period characterized by severe scarcity of fuel across the Nigerian landscape, long fuel queues as has never been witnessed before during fuel crisis in Nigeria; the federal government startled Nigerians by scraping the Petroleum Support Fund, generally known to the Nigerian public as fuel subsidy and this has led to the increase of petrol pump price from N86 to N145 per litre.  It is perceived that this move would encourage local refining, boost capacity utilization, generate employment in the sector and also help the government to fund capital projects.[1] This increase however has actually generated controversy given that it came on the heels of a prolonged scarcity of the product during which it sold for between N120 and N250 per litre depending on location. 

The first attempt to remove petrol subsidy or increase petrol price was in 1978 and since then several other attempts have been made to remove petrol subsidy. Although, all attempts made have been a partial removal of fuel subsidy or deregulation of the downstream sector, it was not until 2012 that a full scale deregulation was attempted by the then administration however this was firmly resisted by the citizenry. Contrariwise, there appear to be different reactions across the Nigerian landscape with respect to recent increase in petrol price which gives an unclear picture as to whether or not Nigerians have accepted this increase. Based on the above, NOIPolls in partnership with BusinessDay conducted a survey to measure the opinions of Nigerians on the recent increase in petrol pump price. 

Survey Findings

The survey results revealed that Nigerians (95 percent) across all geo-political zones are aware of recent increase in petrol pump price; and an assessment of the support of Nigerians on the recent increase of petrol pump price showed that 74 percent of respondents nationwide are not in support of the increase. Interestingly there are more Female (87 percent) than Males (62 percent) respondents in this category.  On the other hand 26 percent of respondents Nationwide are in support of the increase.

Further analysis of results across geo-political zones revealed that the majority across all geo-political zones are not in support of the increase in petrol pump price, although the South-East region (90 percent) had the highest proportion of respondents in this category, closely followed by the South-South region (87 percent). On the other hand, the North-East region (41 percent) accounted for the largest portion of respondents who are in support of the increase in the price of petrol and this was followed by the North-West zone (36 percent).

 

When respondents were further asked to state their reasons for supporting OR not supporting the increase made on petrol pump price, an analysis of the open-ended answers revealed that respondents who did not support the increase mentioned ‘Economic hardship of the masses’ (41 percent), ‘Increased cost of living’ (40 percent), ‘increase in prices of goods and services’ (8 percent) and ‘Increase in cost of transportation’ (5 percent) as reasons for not supporting the increase in petrol pump price among others.

 

Nigerians who are in support of the increase in petrol pump price cited ‘Fuel Availability’ (43 percent), ‘Best option for us in Nigeria’ (18 percent), ‘Subsidy money will be put to better use’ (15 percent) and ‘It reduces corruption in the oil sector’ (12 percent) among other reasons.

 

Furthermore, the availability of petrol since the recent increase in petrol pump price was measured across Nigeria, and the poll revealed that 86 percent of respondents nationwide stated that petrol is now readily available in their various localities. The North-West region (93 percent) had the highest proportion of respondents with this report. In addition, 14 percent of respondents, mainly from the North-East zone (21 percent) affirmed that petrol is not readily available in their localities.

The impact of the increase in petrol pump price was measured and analysis showed that 88 percent of respondents stated that they have been adversely affected by the increase in petrol pump price and this cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age. 

It is also worthy to note that analysis by age-group categories revealed that the (61+) age-group category have been mostly affected by the increase in petrol pump price and it is a well-known fact that most Nigerians in this category are likely pensioners or senior citizens that depend on their pension as in accordance with the civil service reform decree No. 43 of 1988 which clearly puts retirement age at 60 years or 35years in service whichever comes first.[2]  The implication being that the increase in petrol price would put a lot of burden on their already scarce resources.  

Finally, respondents were asked to state the effect of the recent increase made on petrol pump price, and findings revealed that Nigerians have been mostly affected by the increase in cost of transportation (33 percent) as a resulting effect of the increase in petrol price. Other mentions include ‘High cost of goods and service’ (24 percent), ‘Change in spending pattern’ (17 percent), ‘High cost of living (14 percent) among others.

In conclusion, the poll results have shown that most Nigerians are currently not in support of the increase in petrol price, as they believe it will result in ‘Economic hardship of the masses’ (41 percent), ‘Increased cost of living’ (40 percent), ‘Increase in prices of goods and services’ (8 percent) and ‘Increase in cost of transportation’ (5 percent). Hence, it is therefore pertinent that policy makers and stakeholders consider designing and implementing relevant social safety nets to cushion the various effects of subsidy removal on Nigerians.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of April 18th 2016. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. 

About NOIPolls

NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com. 

About BusinessDay Media

BusinessDay, established in 2001, is a daily business newspaper based in Lagos, Nigeria. It is the only Nigerian newspaper with a bureau in Accra, Ghana. BusinessDay Media Ltd is the leading medium for up-to-date news and insightful analysis of business, policy and the economy in Nigeria, a critical decision-making tool for investors and managers. It provides unbiased news and informed analysis on politics, governance, social and economic trends. 

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published. 

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

Press Contact

The Editor

Email: editor@noi-polls.com

[1] http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/fuel-price-hike-nigeria-wasted-n10trn-subsidy/

[2] http://thepointernewsonline.com p=5561/?