By Ugochukwu OnyeochaThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed the sum ofN18.26 Billion to the first batch of beneficiaries of theN213 Billion Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilization Facility (NEMSF). According to the apex bank, this figure comprises two electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and three electricity Generation Companies (GENCOs).Speaking during his welcome remarks at the ceremony held at the Banks Head office in Abuja, on Monday, February 2, 2015, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele,CON, reiterated that theN213 Billion Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilization Facility (NEMSF) was a way of kick-starting the electricity market in order to ensure that the sector delivers tangible improvement in power supply for all Nigerians.He explained that the CBN, in collaboration with the banking sector, offered to provide the facility to address recent shortfalls in power sector revenues caused by needed adjustments in the electricity tariff and legacy gas debts.While congratulating the first batch of beneficiaries, which he said had met the conditions precedent to disbursement, Mr. Emefiele urged the beneficiaries to ensure that the funds are repaid as and when due, just as he stressed the need for them to ensure that all inputs into the generation of power are ramped up in a consistent manner. He equally charged them to invest the funds in the necessary improvements in generation plant maintenance, transmission upgrades and distribution networks including transformers and better metering for end consumers.Furthermore, he urged other Distribution and Generation Companies to take a cue from the first batch of beneficiaries so as to receive their respective tranches of the facility as soon as possible.In his remarks at the ceremony, the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, expressed gladness at the disbursement, describing the event as a prayer answered and a dream come true.Prof. Nebo commended the CBN Governor for the key role he played in ensuring the success of the inter-ministerial/agency collaboration, which involved the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Power, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).Although he acknowledged that the country was yet to arrive at the point of uninterrupted power supply, he assured that the country would get there sooner than later. He also assured electricity consumers that their interests would always be protected by NERC.Highpoint of the event was the presentation of symbolic cheques to the Eko Electricity Distribution Company; Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company; Jebba Hydroelectricity Plc; Kainji Hydroelectricity Plc; and Shiroro Hydroelectricity Plc by the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to the admiration of all present.In their remarks on behalf of the DISCOs and GENCOs respectively, Dr. John Tunde Ayeni, Chairman of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Co. and Dr. Olubunmi Peters of Shiroro Hydroelectricity Plc, thanked the Federal Government, the CBN and the Banking sector as well as the Ministries of Petroleum and Power and the regulators for the facility granted. They assured that they would use the facility judiciously for the benefit of Nigerians.In her vote of thanks, the Deputy Governor of the CBN in charge of Economic Policy, Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Alade, thanked the Minister of Power, the Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of the DISCOs and GENCOs for their cooperation and commitment in ensuring the success of the programme.Also present at the event were the Deputy Governors in charge of Operations and Corporate Services, Alhaji Suleiman Barau and Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, respectively. Click here to read full news..