Another Toilet Paper Crisis: Angola's Biggest Oil Firm Can't Even Supply The Basics
It's not just the Venezuelans that are facing a crisis of living standards due to a hyperinflating currency intertwined with the collapse in oil revenues. As OilPrice.com's Irina Slav explains, Sonangol, the state oil company of Africa’s current number-one oil producer seems to be in shambles, with the management unable – or unwilling – to pay for washroom supplies, according to employees cited by local media.
Despite becoming China's largest crude oil supplier in recent months, people working for the company, on which their entire country depends, say they are embarrassed that they have to bring their own toilet paper to work (BYOT). The management, however, is spared this embarrassment, they told Maka Angola–a media outlet close to the opposition.
"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 shared.
This management, a whole new one, has at the helm Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. She was appointed by her father to the high seat earlier this year in a surprise reshuffle that saw the previous executive ousted.
When Dos Santos took the helm of Sonangol, she pledged to make the company transparent and to separate its core operations, spinning off the rest to improve focus.
The reshuffle put the company in the spotlight, especially since shortly after the appointment of Dos Santos to the CEO position, the government of Angola canceled talks with the IMF about a US$4.5-billion loan that would have helped it to prop up its oil crisis-battered finances.
Last month, it emerged that Chevron, a long-time partner of Sonangol, is demanding US$300 million in a debt repayment, threatening to otherwise end the relationship. Soon after this, Sonangol announced it had agreed to a debt payment of US$200 million, without mentioning the name of the receiver, adding that a plan is in place for the remainder of the sum.
Meanwhile, Angola’s Supreme Court is probing the younger Dos Santos’ appointment. The probe was launched after a group of 14 lawyers filed a case that accused the President of nepotism and breaching the country’s probity legislation.
The Sonangol employee who talked to Maka Angola said that “The former administration 'ate' well. Now I suppose it's the turn of the new administration.”
A Whatsapp group has been formed to discuss the issue, naming itself “There is no toilet paper.”