TOTAL Liberia Inc. has inaugurated a multimillion dollar ultra modern design T-AIR service station in Gbarnga, Bong County. The Gbarnga T-AIR Service Station, which commemorated the birth of the TOTAL’s second T-AIR Station in Liberia, was inaugurated at a colorful ceremony held on Saturday, June 7, 2014.
The Mayor of Gbarnga City, Madam Esther Coaline Warbey, extolled the French petroleum giant for not only “building the huge modern structure in her city, but for creating avenue of employment generation for the citizens of Bong County.”
Madam Warbey observed that TOTAL has continued to make the difference in Liberia by investing millions of United States dollars to build modern service stations across the country and providing jobs for hundreds of Liberians. She called on other investors to follow the good example of TOTAL by investing in Gbarnga City.
TOTAL Liberia Managing Director Mr. Robert Fenech, said the corporation was “thrilled to share this great moment with you all in Gbarnga City.”
Visiting Gbarnga for the first time since he arrived in Liberia few years ago, Fenech assured the people of Gbarnga in particular and Bong County in general that Saturday’s event will not be his last as he was personally honored to be with the community of Gbarnga.
The TOTAL MD also assured the people that as a leading oil industry player, the company’s prime responsibility is to enable as many Liberians as possible to access energy. He said TOTAL has made great strides in developing a socially sustainable and economic footprint throughout Liberia in support of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s poverty reduction program.
“The creation of service stations creates jobs, and helps develop communities. The need for job creation in Liberia, and the need to empower Liberians in a sustainable manner, cannot be overstated which is why TOTAL continues to play a key role to drive the Liberianization with strong local content policies,” Fenech declared.
He disclosed that all TOTAL service stations are exclusively operated by Liberian franchise businesses, the majority of which, he added, operate under the Company’s Young Dealer scheme.
“Our Young Dealer scheme is an unparalleled commercial empowerment program for Liberians,” Fenech stated as he disclosed that TOTAL has invested more than US$2 million in young Liberian entrepreneurs.”
The TOTAL boss also disclosed that TOTAL has approved a loan of US$170,000 for Abraham Dargo, a young Liberian and TOTAL’s franchise partner in Bong County, to manage the Gbarnga station. He said TOTAL took the decision because the company is confident that Mr. Dargo will perform.
Fenech went on to advise Abraham that there is no magic formula and no quick win for entrepreneurial success.
“It comes only through hard work, honesty and commitment. No service station business anywhere in the world will thrive without the daily presence of the dealer checking their stocks, checking their cash proceeds, managing their staff and building their customer relationships. Service stations cannot be managed remotely; that misconception will never realize a successful and sustainable business,” the TOTAL MD added.
According to him, TOTAL’s prides itself on giving its customers the right product, the right quantity at the right price. “So we are looking to you Abraham to be the Ambassador of the TOTAL brand,” he stressed.
Analysts have observed that the opening of Gbarnga under the T-AIR concept marks another important example of TOTAL’s commitment to invest and be present in all Liberian communities and regions and to drive Liberianization. As a matter of fact, these analysts interject; TOTAL has opened a number of service stations outside of Monrovia over the last few years, including Tubmanburg, Buchanan, Robertsport, Voinjama, Zorzor, Kakata, and Ganta.
As his company expands, the TOTAL MD sent a simple message to his competitors. “Our competitors who are developing their businesses in Monrovia; please, please come and join us in the counties so, as an industry, we can collectively deliver choice and differentiated services for our customers.”
Fenech boasted of TOTAL’s unparalleled record in Liberia announcing that his company spends US$1 million on each service station it builds.
The TOTAL MD explained that TOTAL spends heavily on its service stations in order to meet the highest quality and standards, respecting the most current international norms.
He also explained that the new T-AIR stations endow TOTAL with added legitimacy when it talks about sustainable development, corporate social responsibility and public acceptance of its activities.
In his closing remarks, Fenech lauded the government agencies which help supported and administered the development of his service station projects.
He also thanked the management of Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), the ministries of Commerce and Industry, Public Works, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Investment Commission (NIC) for playing key roles in facilitating the investment approval process for committed investors like TOTAL.
Speaking earlier, TOTAL’s Retail Manager Mr. Victor Wallace, thanked the government and people of Liberia for their support. Wallace observed that the unveiling of the TOTAL Gbarnga Service Station unraveled the new TOTAL corporate image, dubbed, T-AIR–a global phenomenon within the TOTAL Group.
He expressed happiness in TOTAL’s decision to have invested about US$1million in the fabulous T-AIR infrastructure in Gbarnga and for entrusting the facility with Mr. Abraham Dargo, a young Liberian entrepreneur otherwise known as a Young Dealer.
Mr. Wallace observed that by an additional investment of an interest free loan of US$170,000 to Abraham under the company’s corporate sustainable development scheme, establish that TOTAL is up to help develop and improve the economy.