By Amin Kef Sesay
Many have attested that the National Petroleum –Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL Ltd) is really a company that has been progressively making inroads within the petroleum business landscape, not only within this country, but even beyond, as could be seen in the vibrant functioning of its branches in neighbouring Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and The Gambia.
Starting as a small business enterprise that was established years back by certain Sierra Leoneans who were erstwhile workers of the British Petroleum (BP), out of shares that they bought, when the latter decided to fold up operations here, the company has grown exponentially to become the leading petroleum marketing company in this country and even beyond. NP-SL Ltd is renowned for importing high grade petroleum products which include petrol, diesel, gas and other lubricants of which Castrol oil has been confirmed to be the best and very good for the efficient functioning of all types of engines.
From a thorough research conducted by this medium, over time, what became very glaring was that the company has continuously enhanced customer care to the highest level, which positioned it to bag the accolade for 1st for Customer Care. The Shareholders and various Management teams of the company thought it really prudent to harness customer care well, out of the realization that “the customer is always right”. It may literally not be true, but what is understandable to those who are at the helm of affairs at the company is that the cogent concerns and inputs of customers must be taken into consideration for informed decisions to be taken, relating to how they should be factored into the business. Of course, such an open door policy has been paying good dividends.
In order to ensure that fair play takes a foothold in business transactions that will give customers utmost satisfaction, it was decided years back to install calibrated pumping machines at its Filling Stations. These automated calibrated pumping machines are very capable of churning out the right quantity of fuel that a particular customer buys at a given Filling Station, as they display the litres pumped and the price(s). According to the research result, when majority of those buying fuel at various Filling Stations were interviewed, was that they believe they are getting value for their monies.
“When I was in my twenties there were complaints and a lot of grumbling that pump attendants were clandestinely stealing fuel whenever customers went to purchase fuel. The machines used in those days were not in the least transparent and some of us had the impression that they were tampered with. However, when the transition took place, with the replacement of the old machines with the calibrated ones, many, especially commercial drivers, breathe a sigh of relief as it dawned that it was no longer business as usual.
Many began to commend NP-SL for coming up with a new system and breaking from the past, as it became apparent that transparency has gained ascendancy over what was considered as opaque transactions,” Mohamed Abu Sesay, a man in his early sixties, fondly recalled while talking to this medium and what he said resonates with the views of others who witnessed the transition.
Still in the realm of giving their customers the best, in terms of qualitative service delivery in a timely manner, the company decided to secure good tanker vehicles of varying sizes that transport petroleum products to provincial towns. These vehicles are being serviced from time to time in order to ensure their road worthiness. It was understood that petroleum products are always transported in record time to different parts of the country so that there will be no iota of shortage as long as fuel is available.
Another outstanding feature of the company that sharply came to the fore, during this medium’s research, was that it is a laid down policy that when it comes to the offering of jobs then, as an indigenous company, preference must be given to indigenes as against bringing in expatriates from other countries. Even in situations where foreign expatriates are brought in, there must be Sierra Leoneans to understudy them and in time, the indigenes must take over.
This stance on the part of the company is in sync with the country’s Local Content Policy, which is deemed as a sine qua non for economic development to transpire. When this policy is translated into tangibles, it is realized that it has helped in reducing the unemployment rate by whatever margin that could be measured. And as jobs are offered to those who are really qualified, but were hitherto jobless, then it contributes to the reduction of the rate of poverty in the country.
“I want to doff my hat to the Shareholders and Management of NP-SL for doggedly sticking and implementing this policy, as it is in line with not only best practice, but has demonstrated that the private sector plays a pivotal role in job creation,” Emmanuel Konjoh, a leading champion in enhancing compliance with the country’s Local Content Policy intimated us.
With regards the company’s rolling out of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), NP-SL Ltd has been doing so over the years through giving various supports to worthy causes. Just recently, out of consideration to complement Government’s efforts in scaling up the fight against the deadly coronavirus, NP-SL donated the whopping sum of one billion Leones to the COVID-19 Response Centre as its own token of contribution to beef up the arsenal geared towards defeating the new enemy.
The company has also given institutional supports to certain sectors, especially those that are closely aligned to it like the National Fire Force. Knowing that it deals in highly inflammable products the company has been very supportive to this important institution. It is against such a backdrop that NP-SL decided to facilitate the construction of a state of the art borehole water facility with a kva generator to pump up the water, for the Kissy Branch of the National Fire Force, since the terminal’s fuel discharge is close to that branch. As a matter of fact it was not the first support that the company has rendered to that institution and when cognisance is taken of how it is most times difficult to access water in that part of the country, then it will be seen that it was indeed a big blessing.
NP Smart Card is now in vogue and has become trending. It was introduced by the company at the right time, as countries globally are shifting away from cash transactions to cashless ways of transacting businesses thereby creating room for the convenience and security of customers. Banks are doing it and there are other online ways of doing shopping. With the NP Smart Card, monies could be credited into the card and used to buy fuel of any quantity that is within the region of what the card contains. All could be used or some with a balance remaining. But what is so far advantageous with making use of it is that it gives customers the opportunity to budget or save in the card certain amount of money that has been designated to purchase fuel.
Introducing NP Gas brought relief to many who hitherto had to depend on the use of wood or charcoal. It is quick, with high performance precision and can be easily refilled with gas that could be secured from the company’s Filling Stations. Manufactured in different cylinder sizes, many are indeed going for it and have spoken glowingly about its good performance.
NP-SL Ltd, it is agreed, has firmly taken over the petroleum business landscape as a result of coming up with various offers that make its numerous customers always feel happy. It is a dependable and reliable business entity that has been growing by leaps and bounds.