By Amin Kef Sesay
The National Petroleum-Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL Ltd) has once again demonstrated its dogged determination and proactive stance in ensuring that residents in every nook and cranny of this country have easy access to the petroleum products that the company is marketing at affordable prices. This became conspicuously evident on the 11th July 2020 when the leading fuel marketing company commissioned a newly constructed Filling Station at Luawa Chiefdom, in the Kailahun District, Eastern Sierra Leone.
The ultra-modern Filling Station is one of the latest developments that have been implemented by a private entity in one of the most historical districts in Sierra Leone courtesy of the development oriented passion and foresight of the petroleum company that many have come to hold in esteem and which for too long became a household name in this nation.
During the auspicious and colourful event that was graced by high profiled personalities and people from all walks of life, but with the observation of social distancing, what came out clearly from the statement of the Chief Executive Officer of NP-SL, Kobi Walker, was that the company has open arms to embrace good initiatives.
The NP boss was making reference to the partnership with Navo Kai Kai, an indigene of Kailahun district and the Proprietor of the Filling Station, whom approached NP-SL with a proposal of constructing a Filling Station, an ambition he crystalized into reality by spending Le1.5 Billion on the project.
It must be noted that the statement made by Kobi Walker clearly indicates the preparedness on the part of the company to always encourage and embrace meaningful local entrepreneurship.
As a matter of fact it must be anchored at this particular juncture that the auspicious commissioning of this new ultra-modern Filling Station will definitely bring with it so many attendant benefits not only for residents of Kailahun but even strangers who are visiting the district on different assignments or missions. Indisputably, this new development will ease the burden on motorists, bike and Kekeh riders , owners of boats with outboard engines, Local and International Non-Governmental Organizations operating over there to secure fuel from nearby towns or within Kenema District.
As it is commonly known whenever certain products are secured in distant places there is the tendency for business people to slightly factor the transportation cost in the sale price, which consumers will have to bear. There is the possibility that with the new station such will drastically minimize as NP tankers will now be transporting fuel to that part of the country on a regular basis.
Another big advantage that will accrue to the district has to do with creating job opportunities, formally and informally. Definitely, there are going to be people that the Navo Kai Kai family will employ directly or formally to work in the capacity as pump attendants and in other positions such as accountants, security guards etc. Whatever way it could be looked at, this will help in alleviating poverty as it will have cascading effects, meaning that family members and friends will be benefitting from those who would be earning salaries.
Vehicle drivers, Kekeh and bike riders are now assured of accessing Castrol Oil which is the No 1 lubricant for the good performance of the engines of their vehicles, Kekehs and bikes and by extension extend their roadworthiness.
Besides, there will be others who will purchase petroleum wholesale from the Filling Station and sell on retail in nearby villages or settlements as a source of income, although NP-SL is seriously frowning on keeping fuel at home as such is highly dangerous, posing the risk of igniting fire disasters.
In as much as there is NP’s presence in Kailahun District that part of the country now stands to benefit from the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Knowing NP-SL as a business entity that never falters in dispensing its CRS there is hope that with time the company will surely implement certain development projects that many will benefit from or will support worthy causes that will definitely put smiles on the faces of residents.
Indeed, Kailahun District will come to have a feel of the company’s Customer Care touch. It must be underscored that prior to the commissioning of the Kailahun “British NP Filling Station” , the old fuel manual pumping machines were in use. It was alleged by certain people that whenever they bought fuel, petrol or diesel, they noticed shortfalls in the quantity attributing that to the clandestine manipulations of pumping attendants whom they accused of robbing them of deriving value for money.
However, with the commissioning of the new Filling Station that has automated calibrated pumping machines, it is expected that such will become a thing of the past as these latest machines have the capability of displaying the litres requested for as against the price. The process facilitated by these calibrated pumping machines is very transparent and will instill confidence to all that they are getting value for money.
As was also revealed by Kobi Walker during the commissioning that NP-SL Ltd within two years paid Le782 Billion as taxes to the Government of Sierra Leone it means with the opening of the Kailahun branch the tax base will definitely expand which will make the Government much stronger to undertake various development programmes with domestic revenue generated .
As it was aptly put by the Resident Minister-East, Hon. Andrew Ansu Fartoma, it is now up to residents of Kailahun to see this investment as their own and in that regard they should be watchdogs for NP-SL.
However, it has gone down the annals of the history of this country that the National Petroleum-Sierra Leone Limited is one business entity that took tangible development to Kailahun District. Indeed, the indomitable company remains relentlessly steadfast to assuage the petroleum needs of citizens and foreigners in an efficient and effective manner.