Captain Fabjanko Kokan who heads Bollore Transport and Logistics Company is now more of a patriot than a compatriot of Sierra Leone. Apart from Bollore’s contribution to the country’s economy, Mr Kokan whose name is now a household one can always be mentioned and remembered for his love for Sierra Leone.
He has demonstrated that love for many years throughout his stay in the country. In one of the most admirable ways Captain Kokan demonstrated love to the people of Sierra Leone is seen in the Covid-19 period in which most organisations have embarked on redundancies of staff.
The captain is on record to have laid off expatriate staff in a redundancy drive at the outset of Covid-19 in spite of an old rule of massive lay-offs staff during pandemics or epidemics. The widespread expectation was laying off local staff to cut down on the company’s expenditure.
But, in his wisdom, he reduced expatriate staff and retains local ones. He based his decision on the grounds that there will be more resources for the company to expand and provide job opportunities for the people of Sierra Leone by sending away the expatriate staff.
It was a difficult judgment in light of the critical situation Captain Kokan faced at that time, but love for country made him act the way he did so that the country’s youths will access more jobs in the company. Mr Kokan is an embodiment of social responsibility and unprecedented corporate philanthropy in the business world. In the world of public relations, corporate social responsibility borders around the compliance of a business entity with laws and other societal obligations and responsibilities.
Throughout its existence in Sierra Leone, Bollore hardly infringes any law especially laws on tax. The company has always dispensed its tax obligations successfully and satisfactorily thereby contributing to the coffers of state.
The company has not only shown compliance with tax laws, but also environmental laws of Sierra Leone. hroughout its stay, the company has never flouted any aspect of the environmental laws in Sierra Leone. Under the leadership of Captain Kokan, the company has cut down on its carbon emission by allowing communities nearby to consume a great chunk of their energy.
Blackhall Road Community in Freetown enjoys direct connections form the Bollore Port. In the field of corporate philanthropy, Mr Kokan has stood out very distinctly among other managers of companies in Sierra Leone. Bollore stood tall during the Ebola epidemic between 2014 and 2016, and it is also standing tall in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bollore made a number of donations that ran into thousands of United States Dollars during Ebola and it also making similar donations in the Covid-19 period to save Sierra Leone.
At the outset of Covid-19 in March this year when the index case was recorded, Mr Kokan made sure that residents in the riverine communities are supplied with protective gears to cut off the chain of transmission.
Communities such as Moa Wharf, Old Wharf, Big Wharf among others were thoroughly sensitised by way of awareness raising to keep them safe from the virus. Signs are quite clear that the company has recorded tremendous success in its Covid-19 prevention in such communities as no major incident or threat of the virus has been detected or reported.
As a man of humility and self-effacement in the service of Bollore, Captain Kokan is developing a succession plan that would enable him choose the right persons to man the affairs of the company when he shall have taken an exit.
Ensuring that his exit strategy works well, he entreats local staff to learn from expatriates so that they can take over from them. Knowledge transfer from expatriate to local staff means capacity building of Sierra Leoneans to take over the few jobs done by the expatriate community.
It is hoped that by the time Sierra Leoneans would have acquired the right Knowledge and skills that fit into Bollore’s technical labour requirement, there will be no expatriate staff left in the company.
It also signals great love and patriotism for Sierra Leone as well as a man that is highly compliant with the country’s Local Content Policy. The policy is about providing wider opportunities and leverages for the local people than expatriate workers.
Bollore now has got more Sierra Leoneans employed in critical sectors of the company than expatriate staff. Captain Kokan also has plans to ensure that other competent Sierra Leoneans are employed than expatriate ones.
A glance at Bollore’s administrative policies, it is clear that they are employee-friendly owing to the captain’s unwavering loyalty to the country.
Through the captain’s wise and committed leadership, the company’s staff strength stands at 318, 6 managers, 4 expatriates and 44 contract staff. The contracts awarded to all contract staff are sure to be renewed this year unless the contracted employees say they want to leave.
But, hopes are high that they would stay owing to Bollore’s warmth and friendliness that reaches its staff anywhere, anytime. The Transport and Logistics Company has plans to ensure that the minute number of expatriate staff is either maintained or reduced so that more opportunities would be created for Sierra Leoneans.
Captain Kokan is also making sure that the company’s employees are fairly treated so that they could be retained.
Under his supervision, employees are paid Le1.142M [One Million, One Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand Leones] a month as the barest minimum. The sum doubles Sierra Leone’s recognised minimum wage.
Bollore’s employees appear to be one of the most comforted and motivated set of employees than a number of other companies in Sierra Leone. Apart from their normal salaries, Bollore employees are paid for the performance of over time duties. The sum of Le150, 000 [One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Leones] is calculated for weekdays and Le100,000 for weekends [One Hundred Thousand Leones] for workers who go beyond the recognised eight hours being the normal period of work.
Apart from over time money paid to employees, the company also takes pride in an organised system in which employees are paid inconvenience allowances as a form of high motivation.
The inconvenience allowances go for company drivers and other staff who work late at night. Drivers who leave their houses at 4am to start work at 8am are paid inconvenience allowances, and the same thing applies to those workers who work late.
At the centre of these impressive inroads Bollore records in the transport industry, the Human Resource Department plays a critical role towards such success. The department is manned by a human resource expert known as Claurinda Morgan who works towards the company’s vision and mission.
The Human resource officer who is the mobilizer of the company human material resources ensures that everything goes on well, and in the best interest of the people and the company. In critical moments, Madam Morgan has kept the company well afloat.
She ensures that workers are safe at work, and allowances paid correctly, and no one is cheated. Owing to her high degree of probity in the management of the company, she is in a good position to network and interface with company workers to make sure that work is done.
Management of human resources in any organisation is the greatest test of competence and patience for any employee. Madam Morgan seems to have successfully passed that test and Bollore is always on the sound footing, and ready to contribute to national development.
Captain Kokan Succeeds when Madam Morgan succeeds.