Nigeria’s consumers are feeling the pinch as the average retail price of Petrol soared by more than 200% in one year, according to the latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The NBS report, which was released on its website, stated that the average price paid by consumers for Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) in September 2023 was N626.21 per litre, compared to N191.65 per litre in September 2022.
This represents a 226.75% increase in one year, which is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria’s fuel market.
The report also indicated that the average price of Petrol decreased slightly by 0.08% from N626.70 in August 2023, suggesting that consumers paid marginally less for Petrol in September than in August.
However, this does not reflect the reality of many Nigerians who have been struggling to cope with the high cost of living and transportation amid the high inflation rate and scarcity of foreign exchange.
The NBS report also revealed that the average retail price of Petrol varied across states and zones in the country, with some states paying much more than others.
According to the report, Taraba State had the highest average price of N665.56 per litre, followed by Borno and Benue States with N657.37 and N641.29 per litre, respectively.
On the other hand, Rivers, Delta and Jigawa States had the lowest average prices of N602.55, N605.88 and N617.42 per litre, respectively.
On the zonal level, the North-East Zone had the highest average price of N638.33 per litre, while the South-South Zone had the lowest price of N618.47 per litre.
The NBS report did not provide any explanation for the huge variation in Petrol prices across states and zones, but some experts have attributed it to factors such as supply and demand, transportation costs, security challenges and market forces.
The high Petrol prices have sparked public outcry and criticism from various stakeholders, who have called on the government to intervene and address the situation.
Some have also blamed the government for failing to implement the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2021.
The PIA was expected to reform and restructure the oil and gas sector, attract investment, increase revenue and ensure transparency and accountability.
However, more than a year after its enactment, the PIA has not been fully implemented due to delays in setting up the regulatory agencies and resolving some contentious issues.
The government has also been accused of not providing adequate subsidies or palliatives to cushion the effect of the high Petrol prices on the masses.
Meanwhile, some analysts have warned that the high Petrol prices could have negative implications for the economy and social stability, as they could trigger inflation, reduce consumer spending, increase poverty and fuel social unrest.
They have urged the government to take urgent steps to address the root causes of the problem and provide relief to Nigerians who are already suffering from multiple challenges.