“We are committed to serving humanity” NP GM –Kobi Walker

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By Ranger

On a sunny but cool Wednesday afternoon, this medium caught up with the General Manager of the National Petroleum (Sierra Leone-Limited), Kobi Walker, at his Siaka Stevens Street office, within the Central Business District, very close to the historical Cotton Tree in Freetown.

The purpose of the meeting was sound his views on the accomplishments, since the inception of the company, as well as the challenges it is presently going through. The GM was very pleased saying it is significant for media practitioners to get first-hand information about the company rather than churning out baseless information about the company for public consumption.

He started by giving a brief background of the company and underscored how in 1977, British Petroleum acquired the shares of AGIP and operated until June 1984 when the Government of Sierra Leone acquired 60% shares from British Petroleum Sierra Leone Ltd. and this new company became the Sierra Leone National Petroleum Company which is 100% Sierra Leonean owned.

He said that the shareholders of the company, who originally were thirty-five committed Serra Leoneans, sacrificed their end of service benefits in 1996 to buy the institution.

Walker maintained how through selflessness, commitment and dedication on the part of the shareholders and various Managerial teams since inception, the company has been growing exponentially.

“Today we have branches in various parts of Sierra Leone and I am very proud to intimate that we have presence in Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and The Gambia,” furthering that they are all doing well in transacting petroleum products which includes petrol, diesel, kerosene, cooking gas as well as lubricants all of which are of high quality.

The General Manager of NP highlighted that they are dedicated to ensuring timely importation and distribution of petroleum products in order to avoid shortage of those essentials commodities.

“We are very mindful of the fact that our valued customers do matter in the success of our business enterprise which is why we highly consider their views and inputs which I believe have been helping us greatly in breaking barriers,” he disclosed.

The GM said all their filling stations are State-of-the-Art structures to make them more attractive and convenient for its customers. “As a matter of fact we are currently refurbishing one of our outlets on Black Hall Road close to the Up-Gun Roundabout in the East End of Freetown in a bid to ensure that our customers always feel comfortable when accessing our products and services,” he intimated adding that most of the filling stations have mini marts and small entertainment joints where people can relax.

The result-oriented Managing Director stated that in keeping with modern trends the company took the bold step in introducing NP Smart Card which could be used conveniently to purchase various petroleum products. “Many are appreciative of this latest move on the part of the company stating that it is a safe way of doing business,” he pointed out stating that the NP Smart Card has security features that could not be easily penetrated by others who are not entitled to it.

He also dilated on the area of marketing NP Gas, which he said, are found in different cylinder sizes and are available at their various filling outlets. “They are user-friendly for cooking purposes and could be easily refilled with the gas we are selling,” he explained revealing that they are also going at affordable prices.

Kobi Walker told this medium that in terms of deepening the country’s Local Content Policy they are at the forefront as nearly all their members of staff are Sierra Leoneans. “As a company we are making use of indigenous talents and skills as that will help individual development and by extension the nation as a whole,” he posited.

Pointing out the key challenge that the company is facing he mentioned the constraint of accessing the required foreign currency (US Dollar) to procure petroleum products stressing that their transaction is purely based on making use of the dollar. “In light of the current depreciation of the Leone to the Dollar the situation has become so compounded but we are collaborating with the requisite stakeholders to ensure that from time to time we surmount this hurdle,” he stated.

He also informed that they have a very good relationship with the Petroleum Regulatory Authority and they are conscientiously collaborating with that institution.

Kobi Walker wrapped up the interview by anchoring that they are doggedly committed to serve humanity.

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