By Amin Kef Sesay
The National Petroleum Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL-Ltd) is really striving through challenging times to continue to effectively deliver on its mission, which is to avail individuals or entities qualitative petroleum products. It must be highlighted that the company is a 100% indigenously owned business entity that has stood the test of time, weathered various storms but interestingly is performing effectively to the consternation of many in a country where the Pull Him/Her Down Syndrome as well as the execution of bad economic policies have killed many home grown or local companies.
NP-SL is well known for 1st for Customer Service as the shareholders of the company and its past and present Managerial teams see treating all classes of its customers with respect and giving them the necessary attention they deserve. In the business world, mutual trust and cooperation are very much significant. A business entity has certain customers it highly trusts based on integrity and commitment. For NP-SL it has for long devised a system whereby certain customers or entities are availed the opportunity to loan and make payments later in a way that could be convenient for both parties.
Petroleum products are not produced in this country and unlike in the past when crude oil was refined to get end products such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, gas such for now is not taking place as the refinery was completely vandalized by rebels during the 11 years senseless war that nearly paralyzed the entire nation. This simply means that petroleum products are imported into the country and one company that has been at the forefront of doing so is the National Petroleum Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL-Ltd). It has been doing so diligently and timely thereby preventing the occurrence of shortage on the market and taking cognizance of the significance of petroleum products any form of shortage will create dire consequences.
One could be right to say that NP-SL is not the only company that markets petroleum products in the country as there are others that do the same. However, one can categorically state that for now NP-SL is the leading oil marketing company in the country and it has been widely acclaimed for efficiently doing so.
It must be made abundantly clear that for any business to thrive then there is bound to be sincerity on the part of all. What one is trying to hammer home within this context is that those whom have been trusted and given loans are expected to timely repay in order to enhance the proper functionality of any business entity.
NP-SL presently finds itself in such a quagmire with regards reclaiming debts. Lamentably, the entities that have fallen short in terms of repayment of loans to NP-SL, running into billions of Leones, are mainly certain Ministries, Departments and Agencies. How could one view the overdue of payment of loans by the Sierra Leone Armed Forces, the Sierra Leone Police, the Ministry of Energy, Government contracted road construction companies to NP-SL vis-à-vis the continued viability of the company?
This medium is not holding a brief for the oil marketing company but as an independent, objectively focused watchdog we need to put the records straight.
Here is a country where public servants consume electricity and water supplies with reckless abandon but their institutions are deliberately refusing to pay for those utilities. Logically, this sort of negative attitude has the tendency to cripple both State and private institutions and to a certain extent it has been unfair to unjustifiably criticize Guma Valley Water Company (GUMA), the Electricity, Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) among others for purportedly falling short in delivery.
This way of doing things in this country is very counter-productive and will frustrate direct investment from within and without. Something must be done urgently in that direction to put NP-SL on the right footing as it is an important entity in this country.
Demonstrating its dogged commitment to the socio-economic development of the country the company is maintaining a policy of strictly adhering to the Local Content Policy ensuring that it has a maximum of indigenous staff in its employ.
As a matter of fact some members of staff continue to benefit from various trainings that have afforded them the conduit to imbibe useful skills to efficiently carry out certain tasks. If we are counting the number of companies that have upheld the Local Content Policy, without any iota of doubt, NP-SL could be seen at the top. This intrinsic nationalistic posture of the company runs through and it is a sine qua non for overall national development. If such a compliance rate should have been followed by other local companies, willingly, without any pressure from the relevant authorities then indisputably this country should have been miles away in its development trajectory.
In its drive to optimize customer satisfaction the company went the extra mile to install calibrated pumping machines which are not only modern but trustworthy, as opposed to old pumping machines which certain unscrupulous individuals used to cheat unassuming customers. This is helping in holding customers’ confidence high assuring them that they are dealing with a very transparent entity. The friendliness of NP’s pump attendants is very impressive and they are always there to timely respond to various concerns.
Still within the purview of 1st for Customer Care, the company is always in position to enter into payment plans with its reliable and dependable customers including Ministries, Departments and Agencies for supplied fuel and lubricants as long as all the necessary modalities have been put in place. When cognizance is taken of the fact that some of these institutions receive intermittent budgetary allocations then such an arrangement is very significant.
Its significance in real terms borders on functional continuity of those institutions as they will be assured of supplies of petroleum products in as much as they keep honoring their obligations.
For those who have not tried NP Gas for the first time it is now time to give it a try. Designed in sizable varying cylinders and sold at various NP Filling Stations, this cooking device has been rated as one of the best that is on offer for sale. NP Gas is safe, user friendly and portable. Trying it will spur you to recommend it to others.
NP Smart Card is now in vogue and is one of the latest technological devices used to purchase petroleum products. Using it has attendant advantages as evident in procuring fuel at any time of the day even during times when monies could not be accessed from banks. It is secured, easy to use and very quick. It is now trending.
To crystallize proposed projects into tangible realities on the ground, Government needs the required financial resources to effectively do so and one sure way is from collection of taxes which is the mandate of the National Revenue Authority (NRA). NP is one big tax payer to Government and it has been doing so timely.
The company’s presence in Guinea, Liberia, The Gambia and Ivory Coast shows that it is around for serious business. It is an embodiment of serious mindedness on the part of Sierra Leoneans who believe that what man can do then man can still do.
It is but very vital for NP-SL to be treated fairly by repaying them monies that other entities owe them. This will indeed help the company to move from the higher height it has reached and catapult it to touch the sky. There is no other way round and taking legal steps could not be the best option for now.