Sonangol “Can’t Even Afford Toilet Paper”
Employees at the Angolan oil giant have flushed out some startling news about Sonangol’s continued decline. Since President José Eduardo dos Santos put his daughter, Isabel (Africa’s first female billionaire), in charge the oil giant’s fortunes “are in the toilet”.
At the company’s headquarters, in a custom luxury US $400 million building, in which over-invoicing reached hallucinatory levels, officials are confronted with a stark reality. Apparently, Angola’s most important enterprise can’t afford to supply its own washrooms.
“Every worker has to bring their own toilet paper from home because Sonangol has been unable to pay its suppliers and we have a toilet paper crisis,” one official resignedly told Maka Angola.
Staff fear they’ll become the butt of jokes. They say the situation is out of hand. Only the denizens of the 18th, 19th and 20th floors – where Isabel and her coterie of expatriate ‘consultants’ have their dens – are spared the embarrassment.
Sonangol has been the primary support for the regime of President José Eduardo dos Santos and the mono-product economy of a state wholly dependent on oil. Angola rivals Nigeria as Africa’s largest oil-producing nation. You would think, that even with the plummeting price of crude, there’d be enough loose change to ensure their employees can wipe their backsides.
“It’s really hard. We are totally out of it. Is it a strategy to force a switch of suppliers? Surely it can’t be a lack of money?” says our source (who for obvious reasons wishes their identity to remain concealed).
“The former administration ‘ate’ well. Now I suppose it’s the turn of the new administration.”
Smarting from the humiliation of being denied the wherewithal to clean up, a group of Sonangol employees has been using the Whatsapp social media platform to discuss the mess. The group named itself “There is no toilet paper” and is using the site to examine the company’s state of health, with at least one wag noting drily: “there isn’t enough toilet paper in the whole country to wipe the regime’s arse clean.”