The National Bureau of Statistics and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund on Friday commenced investigations to ascertain the actual volume of Premium Motor Spirit being consumed in the country daily.
According to both agencies, the 35 million litres or 40 million litres daily petrol consumption figures often brandished by some government establishments were mere estimates, as they noted that the numbers had neither helped in adequate planning nor in making sustainable policies.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event at the headquarters of the PEF in Abuja, where selected officials of both agencies were drafted into a committee to undertake the task, the Statistician-General of the Federation/Chief Executive, NBS, Dr. Yemi Kale, noted that some occasions of fuel scarcity in the past were due to lack of data on the exact number of PMS consumers across the country.
He said, “This is all about getting data to make decisions. I have 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.”
Kale added, “But 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 years’ 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. For until we get the actual numbers, it will be difficult to take policy decisions and get actual facts.”
Asked if it was right to say the government did not know the actual volume of PMS being consumed nationwide daily, the Executive Secretary, PEF, Ahmed Bobboi, said, “Different agencies have their own figures.
“But 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 reason why we decided to work collaboratively to be able to get a figure that will be accepted by everybody.”
Bobboi added that “with the kind of intelligent people in agencies of government, we shouldn’t be guessing figures, especially figures of petroleum products.”
He, however, noted that the inability to know the actual volume of petrol consumed in the country had not adversely affected the payment of bridging claims to oil marketers, adding that the PEF “has its own method of collecting figures and we think that this method is efficient.