How Are Nigerians Surviving the Fuel Price Hike?

January 13, 2023

Say you were on the hot seat of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and had a ₦1 million question to answer. (please play along here, I know for some of you, that’s chicken change) 

What’s the current price of petrol in Nigeria? What’s your answer going to be?

The question looks easy enough on the surface, but it’s tricky to answer. For ₦1 million, you’d have to think deeply and here’s why.

In July 2022, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) quietly approved the increase of fuel from ₦165 to ₦179 per litre. With this information, you might be tempted to settle for option A — but not so fast. 

In that July, oil marketers set the price at ₦185, so maybe option C then? 

Then again, the latest reports in the news say that oil depots across the country are selling at ₦240 per litre, with fears of scarcity looming till June 2023. Option D is looking sexy now, isn’t it?

Hold that thought for a bit because Citizen spoke to a couple of Nigerians who aired their minds on the ever-fluid price of fuel. It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that in some places it goes as high as — or even higher — than option C, ₦280 per litre. 

In short, no one knows the actual cost of fuel in Nigeria. Here’s what some of our respondents said.

ALSO READ: Nigerians Cry About Another Fuel Scarcity but Buhari Unlooks

Noa, Abuja

The thing with Abuja is, the fuel price is the same, ₦185 per litre. The issue is, would you see it to buy without joining a long queue? No.

You’d have to queue. You have filling stations that sell between ₦280 and ₦290. Those are the ones we call the “black market filling stations.” They always have fuel. I suspect that the depots that sell at ₦185 provide fuel for these filling stations who then sell at ₦285. The excess profits are then split among themselves. Because when you ask them why they’re selling at such a high price they’d say it’s because of the amount they got it which simply isn’t true.

On how it has affected me, well, thankfully, we’ve had stable power. Some days it’s up to 20 hours.

For my water production business, most of my vehicles run on diesel. The last time I got diesel was at ₦900 per litre. I’ve had to scale down on production because the cost of diesel keeps skyrocketing. I’m now thinking of more efficient ways to sell water. So, to sum up, there’s fuel — but there’s no fuel if you catch my drift.

Toyin, Osun

I bought fuel last night at ₦270 per litre. Of course, that’s on the high side, but what can we do? Man has to survive, and it’s not funny. 

Today, I had to take public transport to work. What used to be ₦100 is now ₦200. Some transporters even went as high as ₦300. Life’s hard.

Tunde, Oyo

I run a logistics business in Ibadan, and we are deeply impacted, especially our bikes. We buy fuel from between ₦250 and ₦300 per litre. Very few stations sell at ₦185 — maybe two or three of them. And the queues there are unimaginably long.

Our customers want us to deliver to them on time because that’s the selling point of the business. So obviously, we can’t join these queues when we run out of fuel. This means we’re forced to buy at these high prices. This has also increased our delivery fees.

Not all customers understand, but what can we do? It’s a spiral effect that harms small businesses like us. I also had to increase the salary of my workers too. The current situation is annoying and frustrating.

Olayiwola, Lagos

Before, when I filled my fuel tank, either the SUV or jeep, it used to go for ₦10k. Now that the cost of fuel has gone up, filling your tank requires almost double the amount.

It’s not as if there aren’t places to get fuel at ₦185 per litre, but the consequence is waiting in long queues. I’m an entrepreneur and time’s money for me. Also, there’s no guarantee that you’d get fuel when it’s your turn.

Now I have to get at ₦250 or ₦260. But what’s even ridiculous is that recently, it’s been hard to get fuel at these places. Even at the inflated cost, you may not easily see fuel to buy without queueing. The major impact is that I’m forced to work from home. There’s almost no justification for going to the office.

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