NP-SL Commissions Oasis Gas Station at Mile 91

National Petroleum-Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL Ltd).jpg

By Amin Kef Sesay

It was indeed a spectacular view that warmly greeted us as we disembarked from the vehicle that took us to our destination, Mile 91 within the Tonkolili District, on the 19th December 2021. The beauty of the edifice that beholds our eyes was not only very captivating, lovely but very refreshing on a beautiful Sunday morning. But as we continue to make our way to the venue for the purpose of what took us to Mile 91, the additional structures we saw under construction became very impressive, frankly ,because  they are not too commonplace in that part of the country.

Along the main highway, at Mile 91, sits the brand-new state of an art Oasis Filling Station which was commissioned on the 19th December 2021 and is now officially opened to the public.

In attendance were the Chief Executive Officer of the Oasis Gas Station, Ahmed Idriss Fofanah, members of staff of the station, the Chief Executive Officer of NP-SL Ltd, Kobi Walker and staff, a representative of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA), Jaiah Muana, the Regional Manager of Standards Bureau, Abdul Aziz Kamara,  the Paramount Chief of Yoni Magbanta, Fulamasa Gbabereh,the Regeant Chief, Yusifu Alhaji Barrie, the Local Unit Commander of the Sierra Leone Police Force,  representatives of various stakeholders operating within Mile 91 and residents of the township.

Chairman of the occasion, Hassan Koroma, in his opening remarks stated that the purpose of the event was to unveil an important development that has taken place which, according to him, has added value to Mile 91. He furthered how there used to be three Gas Stations within the township but has now increased to four with the  coming of another new one, the Oasis Gas Station, which all are gathered to witness its commissioning. He noted that the opening of the station is indeed quite timely underscoring how it is usual for fuel shortages to be in festive seasons, expressing hope that with the coming of the new player, fuel shortage at all times will be a thing of the past.

“It is significant to realize that the private sector has an important role to play in complementing the efforts of Government to take development to different parts of the country,” he highlighted.

Giving an overview of the Oasis Gas Station, the Proprietor cum Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Idriss Fofanah, thanked everyone for attending. He explained that he actually hails from Mayola Chiefdom, which he referred to as Mayola City, but because of his affiliation with Mile 91 he decided to invest there. He disclosed how the Gas Station project commenced in January of this year but said before the commencement of the project his Foundation, the Zaindriss Foundation, has been supporting the educational pursuits of sons and daughters of Mile 91 through the offering of scholarships. “Up to about 300 to 400 residents are benefitting from the Foundation,” he stated adding that it took the whole village to raise him up maintaining that it is now pay back time for them.

The CEO revealed that the Filling Station is just one component of his investment, as at the back there is a swimming pool and a Nite Club under construction. He continued that he intends adding a hotel to his investment maintaining that currently there are residents he had employed, who are benefitting and called on all to promote the business so that even posterity will benefit from it.

“Based on the positive cooperation of all there is more in terms of development that will come,” he assured, appealing for all to be security guards against any untoward behaviour or attitudes asserting that residents must claim “ownership” of the investment.

In his statement, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum-Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL Ltd), Ambassador Kobi Walker, stated that NP, as a petroleum importing and marketing entity, is the biggest oil marketing company in the country. He told residents of Mile 91 that NP-SL Ltd has a presence in Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and The Gambia diligently delivering qualitative services to many.

Kobi Walker said Mile 91 is blessed as the ancestors of residents keep telling their sons and daughters to return in order to develop their hometown, citing examples of James Sanpha Koroma of the Union Trust Bank fame to now Ahmed Idriss Fofanah. He said with the construction of the swimming pool it portends that the next Olympic representative from Sierra Leone for swimming will come from Mile 91.

“We are happy to partner with Idriss to establish the Gas Station, but it is up to you to ensure that the investment succeeds as you must take ownership of it,” he implored the residents, intimating them that the name Oasis means a fertile ground. Kobi Walker told them that NP-SL Ltd is owned by 35 ordinary Sierra Leoneans who saved their end of service benefits just to set up the company.

Jaiah Muana, the representative of PRA, said his institution has the responsibility to issue licenses to prospective investors in the petroleum sector, regulate petroleum marketing entities as well as ensuring that fuel is sold at affordable prices.  He informed that the PRA is keen on opening up the space to have more players in the downstream sector with the avowed objective of overcoming what he referred to as Energy Poverty, especially in hard to reach communities. “This station we are about to commission is indeed a standard one,” he commended, adding that they are encouraging investors to construct standard Gas Stations to match up with contemporary times.

Standards Bureau Regional Manager, Abdul Aziz Kamara, pointed out that their work focuses on determining that certain standards or requirements are to be met or followed. He continued that anything that has weight or measurement must be calibrated in order to derive value for money. “We have calibrated the pumping machines at this Gas Station, and we are satisfied that they are up to standard,” he assured, adding that in calibrating they do so impartially. He commended the CEO of the Gas Station for going through the right channels, stating that others must emulate his good example.

Dilating on the aspect of security, the Local Unit Commander in that part of the country stated that security is paramount assuring how they will endeavour to provide maximum security, further extending invitation to the CEO of the Gas Station for them to strategically plan on security issues bordering the investment.

Other speakers commended CEO Ahmed Idriss Fofanah, called for all to own the investment with some suggesting or recommending that upon completion and functioning of the swimming pool and nite club minors must be denied entry or prohibited from using the facilities because of their ages.

The cutting of the tape, signifying the commissioning of the Oasis Gas Station, climaxed the auspicious event.


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