National Petroleum (NP), a 100% privately own Sierra Leonean firm, has opened one of its station in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. The opening ceremony took place on Tuesday, October 28 where the Managing Director, Mr. Mohammed S. Kanu, assured the people of Grand Bassa that his company is there to stay. The Buchanan filling station is NP’s 6th station in the country and the first outside the capital, Monrovia.
“NP is here to stay and it is a privilege for Grand Bassa County to have us here,” said Mr. Kanu. The Sierra Leonean businessman reminded the people of Grand Bassa that NP is a very small company from Sierra Leone.
“But what we have done here is how to challenge a giant as long as God is with you,” Kanu added.
NP faces competition from global petroleum giant TOTAL and other petroleum companies. But Kanu said that if David can challenge Goliath and defeat him, smaller companies can also challenge bigger ones and survive. He explained that NP met petroleum giants on the ground when it came to Liberia.
“We have lived by example and shown Liberian companies how to compete against bigger firms. What they need to do is not be everywhere, but they must occupy well before moving to another place and this is exactly what NP is doing here in Liberia.”
Mr. Kanu disclosed plans by NP to build modern filling stations in Katata, Margibi County, Ganta, Nimba County and Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County as soon as the Ebola epidemic is over.
“We [NP] have already secured sites in the three counties and will move in soon to begin the project,” he said also announcing plans by NP to invest in neighboring Guinea and Ivory Coast in the soonest possible time.
“We will be inaugurating branches in La Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea as soon as the Ebola crisis ends because we feel that is what we have to do as Africans—taking the development of our continent in our own hands. We shouldn’t be waiting for westerners to develop our countries because they [Westerners] would leave us in time of crisis, but we [Africans] won’t because we have nowhere else to go,” Kanu added.
The NP boss also used the occasion to announce a new line of product for his company.
“We at [NP) have included cooking gas in our line of products and will import and sell the product in Liberia at a cheaper price,” Kanu declared.
He disclosed that NP has already invested US$5 million on the Monrovia Industrial Park in Garnerville and modernized the facility to store the cooking gas which is expected to be imported soon.
The Garnerville Industry Park is owned by the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), which Mr. Kanu considered a key partner in the promotion of the country’s petroleum industry.
Cooking gas is very expensive in Liberia where some businesses sell the product for US$45 even though it is sold for US$5 and less outside of the country. Mr. Kanu wondered why Liberians should pay US$45 for a cooking gas.
“Cooking gas should be accessible to everybody in Liberia because it is easily accessible by the peoples in other West African countries including Ghana and Ivory Coast, amongst others.”
He thanked the county authority and people Grand Bassa County for giving NP an opportunity to provide services to their county.
In brief remarks, Buchanan City Mayor Rt. Gen. Madam Julia Bono, thanked NP for choosing Grand Bassa as the first county to invest outside of Monrovia. Madam Bono assured the NP Managing Director and staff of Buchanan City’s preparedness to do business with them.
“This is a dream come true,” said Madam Bono. “NP has demonstrated that it is a true business friend of the people of Grand Bassa, in particular the fact that the company can choose to construct and inaugurate this modern facility during the Ebola crisis which has created serious economic effect on our people,” the Mayor added.
For his part, Lone Star Cell/MTN Communications Director Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh observed that by constructing a modern gas station in Buchanan, NP has contributed to the urbanization and brought hope to the people of Grand Bassa County.
He praised the Managing Director of NP for his innovation and said “Kanu brings geo-economic and business sensitivity to NP.”
Dr. Bropleh also thanked NP for recruiting local staff from Grand Bassa to work with its Buchanan gas station. Also making remarks at the ceremony was NP Buchanan gas station manager Wellington VanPelt thanked NP for the opportunity to serve and pledged to do his utmost best in running the station.