Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Majority Nigerians, according to the latest results released by the NOIPolls Limited’s public opinion poll, have expressed their displeasure with some policies of the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
But some others have, however, given their backing to the government.
The results particularly 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 cost of transportation’ (5 percent) among others.
However, 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.
In that Poll, analysis showed an almost equal divide 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 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 services (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,” the Poll read.
The UNION reports the the Federal Government startled Nigerians by scrapping the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF), generally known to Nigerians as fuel subsidy.
This was sequel to a prolonged fuel crisis that had lingered for several months, a period characterised by severe scarcity of fuel across the federation, long queues as has never been witnessed before during fuel crisis in the country.
The UNION further reports that this has led to the increase of petrol pump price from N86 to N145 per litre.
It was perceived that the move would encourage local refining, boost capacity utilisation, generate employment in the sector, and also help the government to fund capital projects.
But the increase, however, has actually generated controversy, given that it came on the heels of a prolonged scarcity of the product during which it sold between N120 and N150 per litre, depending on the location of the filling station.