At a press conference organized by the Consortium on Petroleum and Industrial Relations, a combination of Civil Societies, with like mind, held at 89 Fort Street in Freetown, the Chairman of the Consortium, Moses Mambu, told Journalists that they are disturbed by the activities of the National Petroleum Sierra Leone, in trying deliberately to crack down on the job creation efforts of the government for its youths. He furthered that the deliberate action of NP to frustrate the efforts of a big investor in the oil business, who has invested already, over $20 million dollars on the ground and has employed over 150 youths, who are currently working in fixing the infrastructure along international standards, is wrong and should not be encouraged.
Moses Mambu noted that the consortium had visited the facilities of the new petroleum company at the Kissy terminal and were satisfied with the development seen, but maintained that the activities of NP-SL to frustrate the company is unacceptable, and should be condemned in no uncertain terms. He furthered that during their visit to Liberia, they observed that the country has 9 fuel importers, whilst Sierra Leone only has one, with the others buying from it. Mambu stressed that fuel is a political commodity and its absence will mean economic disaster for the country, as it has to do with the daily life of the populace. Its shortage will affect every facet of society and that is why politicians call it the bread and butter of the nation.
Dilating on their findings, Alphonso Manley, Director of Programs for the consortium said that some companies want to monopolize the petroleum sector and are doing all they can to see this happen. He mentioned NP-SL and Leon Oil as being behind moves to discourage the new investor in the sector to operate. He furthered that with this new investor, the government will be addressing part of its job creation needs, as currently, though the company is at the construction stage, it has employed some 150 workers, who are currently working on the ground, doing welding, carpentry, masonry and other jobs. He also disclosed that the company has employed another 156 locals as permanent staff.
In respect of the community relationship, which is one of the consortium’s focuses, they noted that the APP-SL has constructed public toilet for the community, paid WASSCE fees and sponsored 18 students who took the exams and are successful, erected water tank for residents and has offered scholarships to lots of kids in the community.
Alphonso Manley stated that their visit to the site is to assess the relationship between the company and the community, ascertain its vision, and the legal status of the APP-After further enquiries, they discovered that the company was approved by the PRA, THE Ministry of Trade, approved by cabinet and later ratified by Parliament. He stressed that the APP-SL is the first oil company that has gone to Parliament and obtained approval in November 2020.
Manley observed that during their investigation, they discovered that the APP-SL has an end to end supply chain, which in effect means that all facilities from discharge of fuel, to the tank farm and the gantry, are all owned by the company, and in respect of its storage facility, the APP-SL has the largest storage tank that can take up to 63 million litres of fuel, and has a gantry that can load 8 tankers at a time. It has installed state of the art machinery and equipment that ensures that their system is fully automated.
Manley further explained that the company’s agreement with government provides for access route to their offices, but lamented that NP-SL has deliberately blocked the route with 14 old used and dilapidated tanks loaded with dangerous chemicals that could cause fire if interfered with. These deliberate acts are all geared towards preventing APP-SL from laying their pipes along the designated route.
During their investigation, they discovered that the Managing Director of the APP-SL has been attacked three times by NP-SL staff, and that other APP-SL staff have also been attacked 8 times by NP-SL staff, which had prompted the police IG to write to the Minister of Trade and the Attorney General about the situation and how he has deployed police in the area. He furthered that the indefatigable PRA boss has been magnanimous in opening the market for healthy competition to take place and encourage more investment into the country.
According to their investigation, the consortium noted that NP-SL does not import fuel, but buys from Addax that imports fuel into the country. NP-SL, he furthered also uses the facilities of Leon Oil to discharge and load fuel, deliberately abandoning the jetty so as not to pay the $60 000 for its use.
The consortium observed the following:.
- NP-SL is preventing the APP-SL from laying its pipe lines along the route,
- NP-SL has discharged waste oil deliberately at the seashore, where APP workers are working at the jetty, and APP-SL had to pay a company $63, 000 to clean same.
- The 30 ft access to lay pipe to ALL-SL’s office is deliberately blocked by NP-SL,
- APP-SL’s fuel will be on EU standard.
The consortium wishes to let NP-SL know that the property they occupy is not theirs, but that of the government and people of Sierra Leone, and the said lease between APP-SL and the government is done on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone. They furthered that no company will be allowed to monopolize the sector at the detriment of the people.