Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have initiated a research partnership to find out the exact volume of petrol consumed daily across Nigeria.
The partnership, according to both agencies, would put to an end to inaccurate and conflicting estimates of the daily petrol consumption in the country released by most government agencies involved in the downstream petroleum sector.
PEF and NBS stated at a recent event in Abuja to announce the partnership that the 35 or 40 million litres daily petrol consumption figures that were often quoted by these government agencies were inaccurate estimates, adding that they have denied the country of adequate data to plan sustainable petrol consumption policies for her citizens.
The two agencies subsequently selected members from each side to undertake the research, which should give out accurate daily petrol consumption figures of the country.
Speaking to journalists, the Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive of the NBS, Dr. Yemi Kale, explained that several cases of fuel scarcity in the past were due to the lack of data on the exact number of consumers that needed the product in the country.
Kale noted that bankable data on Nigeriaâ€™s petrol consumption was necessary to help the government and private investors make clear-cut decisions on how best to meet the demands in the market.
â€œThis is all about getting data to make decisions. I’ve said many times that for us to take decisions, whether policy or any other kind of decision, you have to understand what the problem is, you have to know what the data says. The information on what the problem is and how to tackle it lies with data. So, this is our attempt to get accurate data about the actual consumption of petrol by Nigerian consumers. It is only when we know what the consumption of petrol is that we know exactly how much petrol we need in the country. This is because we have had problems in the past when people made assumptions on what this is,â€ Kale stated.
â€œBut this time around we want to get the actual numbers to help us plan. When we have the actual numbers of petrol consumption today we can plan what the numbers will be by next year, in five yearsâ€™ time and so on. When this is done, the issues we had in the past of petrol scarcity and petrol numbers that we are not sure of can become factual. Until we get the actual numbers, it will be difficult to take policy decisions and get actual facts,â€ Kale added.
When asked if it was right to conclude that the government does not have an accurate figure of petrol needed daily in the country, the Executive Secretary of PEF, Ahmed Bobboi, said: â€œDifferent agencies have their own figures.â€
â€œBut we feel it is embarrassing to us in the same ministry and country for different agencies to be brandishing different figures. And that is the basis why we decided to work collaboratively to be able to get a figure that will be accepted by everybody,â€ he said
Bobboi, explained: â€œWith the kind of intelligent people in agencies of government, we should not be guessing figures, especially figures of petroleum products,â€ adding however, that the inaccurate PMS consumption figures has not affected the PEFâ€™s administration of bridging claims to oil marketers.
According to him, PEF has its own method of collecting figures, which he described as is efficient.