By Amin Kef Sesay
Many have praised the National Petroleum –Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL Ltd) for holding the fort during these difficult moments when the Government and other relevant stakeholders are scaling up the fight against COVID-19. The shower of praises comes in the wake of the company’s demonstration of dogged fortitude in ensuring that all necessary arrangements are made to make possible the availability of petroleum products in the country.
At a crucial time like this when health workers are moving up and down doing contact tracing and administering treatments to those that have been proven positive, easily accessing fuel cannot be overemphasized as it is highly significant that they must be accessed without much hassle.
A prominent Social Commentator intimated that: “To see a pro-active petroleum business entity like NP-SL making frantic moves to ensure that fuel is available and at the same time donating a colossal amount of One Billion Leones towards the COVID-19 fight really shows that it is not only a truly indigenous company but a very patriotic one.”
According to what this medium gathered when it went out to sound the views of people about what NP-SL should be up to was that many highlighted that at this point in time we need all hands on deck to scale up the fight against the current world enemy No 1.
“Government and the informal sector should put shoulders to the wheel by providing financial, material and moral support if only we are to have an upper hand against the dreadful enemy,” Chairlady of the Sani Abacha Traders Association expressed her view noting further that NP-SL has once more demonstrated that it is a true partner in development further enjoining other business entities not to panic by folding up their businesses but to be resilient in carrying out its operations as well as strictly adhering to the health preventive measures that have been put out by the Ministry of Health and its partners.
Economist Jacob Macauley suggested that to cushion the rippling economic effects that the outbreak of COVID-19 is causing to the country’s economy, it is but prudent for the Government to dish out stimulus packages which could help businesses that have been affected to keep on going.
“It could be in the best interest of the nation if the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, waive custom duties on essential commodities like petroleum products and even make available easy access to foreign exchange which certain business enterprises use in the importation of essential goods,” he further suggested.
Indeed, it is an indisputable fact that NP-SL Ltd is a prime mover of the country’s economy. The company, has over the years, been paying huge taxes to Government as it is within the Large Tax Payers bracket of the National Revenue Authority (NRA). These taxes paid are reserved in the Consolidated Revenue Fund to be utilized by the Government to fund the implementation of various development programmes. As far as investigation mounted proved, there has not been a single complaint of the company reneging in honouring its tax obligation, which some say is highly commendable.
To also demonstrate that it is indeed a 100% indigenous company, that means well for the people of this country, besides maximizing profits from sales, the Shareholders and Management of the company made it a laid down policy to give consideration first to Sierra Leoneans instead of foreign expatriates when it comes to employment opportunities. This has made it possible for indigenes, with the requisite qualifications and skills to gain employment in the company which in turn is helping greatly in reducing poverty and to take care of basic responsibility. From what was learnt NP-SL has indeed taken the lead in enhancing the country’s Local Content Policy which is in tandem with national growth.
This thriving business entity is better known for taking Customer Care to the highest pedestal in the country as it has been rolling out different strategies to give utmost satisfaction to its numerous customers right across the country. With modern calibrated pumping machines customers do get the exact quantity of petrol or diesel they purchase at Filling Stations which, according to some, is transparent and good in terms of fair transaction.
“I feel comfortable using NP Gas for cooking purpose as it is quite easy to handle and not harmful,” Mariatu Sawaneh, a housewife told our reporter adding that it is easy to refill as the gas could be easily secured from the company’s Filling Stations. Her impression resonates with that of others that were interviewed with many recommending it as an efficient cooking gadget. NP Gas cookers are manufactured in different cylinder sizes and are very affordable.
NP Smart Card is the most convenient means or device of purchasing fuel at NP stations. This memory chip can be uploaded with money which in turn can be slotted in the calibrated machines and the required amount paid. It prevents individuals from moving around with large amount of money, especially on behalf of companies or corporate institutions just to purchase fuel. It can be used at any time of the day when the company is operating and has been rated as very accurate.
One of the yardsticks that could be used to measure the viability of any company is its growth rate. In this regard NP-SL stands tall as it has successfully opened branches in neighbouring Guinea, Liberia , Ivory Coast and The Gambia. These NP branches are really doing well within the realm of importing and marketing petroleum products and contributing positively towards the development of those nations.
It can be said with all amount of certainty that NP-SL Ltd is indeed a good development partner that is always willing and determined to stand by the side of Sierra Leoneans in good and bad times. The company is truly here to stay.