By Amin Kef Sesay
If we are identifying business entities that have made indelible imprints within the West African sub-region, then the National Petroleum-Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL Ltd) stands tall. This could not by anyway be an overstatement or exaggeration as the facts speak out clearly of a company that originated from a humble origin, established by thirty-five (35) Sierra Leoneans, former employees of British Petroleum (BP) Company , who bought shares after BP decided to fold up its operations in this country.
As a result of selflessness, the sheer determination to succeed in their investment venture and the steady injection of sound managerial initiatives, this small entity grew over the years to become a towering petroleum business company that now has vibrant branches within the West African sub-region in Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and The Gambia.
Today you can find the presence of the company in those countries, easily spotted by its green and yellow colours as well as its attractive well-constructed Filling Stations, which are very spacious to accommodate many vehicles, some having shopping marts, tire repairing/mending sections.
Because of its proactive stance with regards quality service delivery, with the avowed objective of always maximizing the interests of its numerous customers, within the petroleum business context, the company has earned the reputation of being 1st for Customer Care. This could not be dismissed as any theoretical attribution because the Shareholders and various Management team, over the years, have rolled out concreate steps and initiatives that still continue to give utmost satisfaction to all its customers everywhere the company is operating.
A realistic demonstration of doing so was borne out of the pragmatic step taken in the direction of securing and installing at its Filling Stations calibrated pumping machines, highly capable of pumping the correct amount of fuel, petrol or diesel, that a particular customer demand, displaying quantity in litre and the price. With such machines in place, obviously, customers always have the conviction that transactions are transparent which gives them the confidence to remain glued to a company that they trust. This is the situation in all the aforementioned countries where the company is steadily operating.
To enhance public safety and by extension that of its customers, the company made it paramount to clearly display precautionary measures at all its Filling Stations out of which these include but not limited to avoid smoking when within the precincts, not to light any naked flame, switch off mobile phones, engines of vehicles when fuel is being pumped. It is always ensured that there are fire extinguishers handy to be used in the event of any fire incidence.
Taking into cognizance that the company is dealing in highly inflammable products, the stance on the part of the Shareholders and Management to uphold best practice within the context of enhancing safety definitely falls within the purview of promoting customer care.
It has been established by development experts that there is a symbiotic relationship between strict implementation of a country’s Local Content Policy (LCP) and economic development. This had been justified on the basis of avoiding the over dependence on importation of what we use to produce and consume. Besides, sound implementation of this policy provides room for the utilization of local skills and materials in the production chain.
As for the National Petroleum-Sierra Leone Limited strict implementation of the country’s LCP is a top priority which must not be taken lightly.
It is against such a backdrop that the company gives preference to indigenes when it comes to employment. Except on exceptional and rare occasions when it comes to employment. For example, in The Gambia, the Management does not say because the parent company is from Sierra Leone therefore Sierra Leoneans should be given priority. No! If there are Gambians who are qualified they get the jobs.
The company has gained wide respect for this stance because it offers sources of livelihoods to those who were hitherto jobless, thereby empowering them to be gainfully employed to take care of responsibilities.
With the introduction of NP Smart Card, which has gone viral, the Card can be credited with money and the amount of money utilized to buy fuel is debited after every transaction. With the use of NP Smart Card, customers are saved the hassle of having to always move with physical cash in their possession in order to purchase fuel and indeed there are times when one may not have time to rush to the bank to make withdrawals. Customers, who are holders and users of NP Smart Card, are at the vantage position to properly budget, through the amount that is contained in the card to buy fuel, during a considerable period of time, say a week or a month. Indeed, NP Smart Card has become trending.
The company also markets NP Gas which is a cooking device that is manufactured in different cylinder sizes and sold at the company’s Filling Stations across the country. It can be easily refilled with gas, is said to be non-hazardous to the health of individuals and easy to operate. Its performance has been rated high and many are indeed going for it.
Within the realm of churning out its Corporate Social Responsibility, the company recently proved that it is always ready to stand by the side of the Government and People of this country ,especially during trying times. This was recently demonstrated when the company donated one billion Leones to the Government as its own token of contribution towards the fight against COVID-19 which the country is grappling with at the moment.
Indisputably, from the foregoing ,it can be firmly asserted that when we count companies that have made solid marks within the business landscape of the West African sub-region there is no way that the National Petroleum Sierra Leone Limited could not be mentioned as the company is greatly contributing to socio-economic growth wherever it has a presence. And the good news is that the company is doggedly poised to expand its operations.