The latest public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls in the second week of the month, shows that most Nigerians buy petrol at an average of N116 per litre across the nation despite the availability of petroleum products.This is contrary to the federal government’s announcement, through the Petroleum Pump Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), that the new pump of petrol is N86 at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) retail stations while other independent retail marketers will sell the product at N86.50 per litre.
Therefore, it appears that most Nigerians are paying 33 percent more than the official average price of petrol; the same price during fuel scarcity in November and December.
The sale of petrol at an average of N116 per litre across the nation raises a series of questions concerning compliance to the new price of N86.50 and subsequent failure of the NNPC to monitor the pump price as promised. Interestingly, about 84 percent of Nigerians in the south-eastern zone of the country buy petrol at an average price of N128 per litre, despite the stance of the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) on clamping down petrol stations failing to adhere to the new pump price.
The NNPC has failed to provide answers to commuters’ groans in Owerri, the capital city of Imo state, where most independent marketers sell at N135 and N150 while black market is sold for N300 per litre. The situation in eastern state is one amongst others in the country, where marketers sell above the new pump price of N86 despite orders given by the Managing Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, to electronically monitor the supply of petroleum products from supply point to the designated area.
Similarly, lending his voice on the compliance to the new pump price, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, said “If any filling station is found selling products above the price, we are going to seal it.” Kachikwu further urged Nigerians to contact the DPR through text messages to designated numbers to help ensure full compliance. However, it may be too early to determine whether this has been effective.
It is worthy to note that the DPR and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps move to ensure compliance in some states as they sealed off filling stations discovered to be selling above the stipulated pump price. Still, the NNPC and DPR seem to be resting on their laurels in monitoring the pump price across the country. It is important for the NNPC to work harder in enforcing the sale of petrol at the new pump price of N86 across the federation as promised.