By Amin Kef Sesay
From what this medium learnt from the Management of one of the most enterprising companies in the country, the National Petroleum –Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL Ltd), the company is really set to roll out effective service delivery to its numerous and esteemed customers everywhere it is operating within the country and beyond. It was iterated that even though the company has been highly commended for doing so in the past yet it is more than ever determined to step up its operations with the avowed objective of giving out the best that members of the public really deserve.
Without any iota of exaggeration, forward looking and business savvy Sierra Leoneans are indeed very proud of the National Petroleum Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL-Ltd) which generally is known for short as NP. This pride large emanates from the mere fact that NP is a living testimony of determination, selflessness and hard work on the part of the original founders of the company who said nothing will deter them from achieving their dream of establishing a towering business entity that will serve as a beacon of hope for many.
From its humble beginning, years back, NP-SL has become the leading petroleum business entity in the country with its Filling Stations located in nearly all the districts of the country, marketing various petroleum products which have been rated to be of high quality.
A real manifestation of a result-oriented company that has been generally rated as highly focused on its viability and operations, is its opening of sub-regional branches in neighbouring Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and The Gambia where there are functional filling stations rendering qualitative service delivery to esteem customers all in a bid to give value for money that definitely brings along utmost satisfaction. Gauging the views of many on this expansionist move on the part of the company most have commended it as one of the few indigenous business entities that have really taken such a remarkable leap ,worthy of emulation. They furthered that it is move that can be categorized as a shining projection of the country’s image to the outside world, telling the story of how Sierra Leoneans can positively make things happen with huge shared benefits to be derived by all and sundry.
One thing which, according to revelation, has helped the company to reach such a height is the proper harnessing of customer care. To ensure that such works effectively it was ensured that Customer Care should be prioritized to an extent that a whole unit was created with contact numbers which members of the public could use to channel all enquiries relating to the company’s activities and operations. This has been maintained in tact to such an extent that it has now become a tradition.
And when customers believe that they do matter and are catered for there is the tendency to become very loyal and compliant. It is an arrangement that is very advantageous to the company in the sense that inputs from customers have served as a roadmap or guide in taking important decisions. For instance, customers’ suggestions have led to the introduction of new petroleum products that could be procured from NP shops, rehabilitation of stations, improved attendance by the company’s attendants and a whole lot of other positive transformations. This bottom to top approach is a business tool that makes room for a liberal way of running the company by bringing customers on board for win-win outcomes.
From what was understood, through thorough research and interviews conducted, the shareholders and Management of the company are very keen on exploring various platforms through which customers could make their views and concerns more relevant as well as heightening customer care.
The company as a matter of fact is renowned for its proper implementation of its Corporate Social Responsibility that it has been steadily rolling out. In a country that is economically recovering from deep scars of bad governance and rampant corruption it is understandable that Government alone cannot undertake various development programmes which is why the contribution of the private sector is very much significant.
NP, indeed, has been on the side of the people of this country through thick and thin, always trying to complement the interventions of Government in fostering development. There are numerous things that the company has done in terms of improving standards of living, some of which they do not even want to mention as if they are showing off but doing so sincerely to better humanity.
When it comes to strict adherence to the country’s Local Content Policy the shareholders and Management of the company have made it a matter of must to get in its employ indigenes and even in cases where expatriates are engaged, local members of staff are given the opportunity to understudy them so that at the end of the day they will imbibe the necessary skills to take over. This is very advantageous in the sense that it helps in providing jobs and to develop a crop of competent individuals which the country needs in its development interventions.
Cooking is inextricably linked to human life or existence, whether for domestic or commercial purposes. Man depends on food for survival, individuals invest in food businesses and the like. Very mindful of the hazardous effects of depleting the environment, by using traditional means of cooking, here specifically talking of making use of wood, charcoal, the company deemed it prudent to introduce NP-Gas which is very fast to ignite, quick to perform, safe and highly convenient. NP Gas, which is in different sizable cylinders could be accessed at the company’s filling stations and authorized dealers, going at affordable prices.
The company has high profiled customers with tight schedules who may have limited time to always wait in queues in order to purchase petroleum products. Besides, some people are not used to havig huge cash in their possession but prefer using smart cards. For these reasons the company went the extra mile to introduce NP Smart Card which customers, those who can afford it, could use to purchase petroleum products. From what was so far gathered all the customers who are using NP Smart Card are well satisfied doing so saying it is very convenient further praising NP for rolling out that initiative.
One thing which cannot be challenged is the fact that NP, not only here in Sierra Leone but in other places where it is functioning, is greatly contributing to revenue accumulation when we think of its timely payment of taxes which Governments are using to fund various development projects.
Regardless, of all the teething challenges that stand in the way of NP, one of which is the depreciation of the Leone to the Dollar, as the company purchases petroleum products in dollars, yet still the company is navigating its way through murky economic waters.
Although all what have been said about the company is really laudable the heart of the matter is that it is not all that is rosy. Like other business entities, the company is grappling with loan recovery from its debtors running into billions of Leones. According to Management of the company it will be in the best interest of the company if those loans are paid so that it will continue to operate vibrantly.
But for now the company is determined to roll out more goodies which will considerable contribute to the socio –economic development of the countries where it is present.