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October 1: Fact-Checking Buhari’s claim on pump price in oil-producing countries

THE PRESIDENT of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari during his October 1, speech to mark the country’s 60th Independence celebration said it was irrational for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.

Buhari reeled out oil pump prices in other oil-producing countries to buttress his position on the adjustment of petroleum prices.

He said: “Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;

  1. Chad which is an oil-producing country charges N362 per litre
  2. Niger, also an oil-producing country sells 1 litre at N346.
  3. In Ghana, another oil-producing country, the petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.”

The President also added that, “Egypt charges N211 per litre, Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.”

THE CLAIM:

That the petroleum pump price for other oil-producing countries are; Chad – N362, Niger – N346, Ghana – N326, Egypt – N211,  and Saudi Arabia – N168.

THE FINDINGS:

Nigeria has witnessed variation of petroleum prices particularly in the last two quarters of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country has further deregulated the downstream sector and pull out from further subsidising fuel price, thus, allowing market forces to determine the fuel price.

The FactCheckHub checked the president’s claim against data on globalpetroleumprices.com. The website tracks and do a weekly update of fuel prices from 150 countries including Australia, Canada, Russia and over 250 cities globally.

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It also monitors electricity prices in about 100 countries with major clients across multinationals and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), some of which includes Ericsson, Goldman Sachs, Plan international, Barclays among others.

Petrol prices data per litre published as of  September, 28, 2020 revealed that fuel per litre is sold at N354.93 in Chad as against N362 stated by the President.

The fuel price list of over 160 countries showed fuel price for Ghana to be N324.93 compared with N326 stated by Buhari. While fuel price in Egypt as captured by the website is N207.62, and that of Saudi Arabia is N167.29.

Meanwhile, the President during his speech had said the fuel price in Egypt and Saudi Arabia are N211 and N168 respectively.

The fuel price in Nigeria is N161 but the organisation published the price as N151.56.  Though, Niger Republic was missing in the list of countries, the data source states that differences in prices across the countries are as a result of the tax variation and petroleum subsidies provided by respective nations.

However, the FactCheckHub findings revealed that the N151.56 align with the ex-depot price as announced by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for September.

This implies that the above prices are most likely the ex-depot prices based on the figure presented for Nigeria on the website.

The ex-depot price is the price at which the product is sold to marketers at the depots.

“All countries have access to the same petroleum prices of international markets but then decide to impose different taxes. As a result, the retail price of gasoline is different,” the website reads.

THE VERDICT:

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Based on the available data, the claim by President Buhari on pump prices during his October 1 independence day speech is MOSTLY TRUE. This is because the prices contained in his speech are relatively close to those stated by the global petroleum prices.

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