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CBN to resume disbursement of N213bn Power Intervention Fund

By The Citizen
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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will resume disbursement of funds in its N213 billion worth Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) to operators -electricity distribution companies (Discos), generation companies (Gencos) and others- in the power sector, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has said.

A communique of the last meeting held by the operators in the sector which was superintended by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, contained this development.

It was obtained from Fashola's Senior Special Adviser on Communications, Mr. Hakeem Bello, yesterday in Abuja.

It explained that the CBN at the monthly meeting of the operators which the Enugu Disco hosted, gave its commitment to resume disbursement of the fund upon finalising the structure and payment model with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and other stakeholders.

Already, the CBN, before it stopped payments, had earlier paid out some parts of the fund to two Discos and three Gencos that were in the first batch of beneficiaries of the N 213 billion market stabilisation fund.

The communique also noted Fashola's insistence that the challenges affecting the power sector could be overcome with pragmatic approaches.

He was quoted to have said: 'My word to Nigerians is that this problem can be solved. It is a problem that has challenged us for a long time.

'Not only am I going around to understand what the problems are, I am at Ugwuaji now in Enugu State, I am going around to understand what I am supposed to manage. I have been briefed on paper, in files and in memos, and I am going from power plant to another power plant, from one transmission site to transmission site. What I have seen convinces me that this problem can be solved.'

He further stated: 'I am optimistic that it can be solved, it just needs for us as a people to understand the system better and how it works. I am going to dedicate some of my time to breaking down the technical issues that have sounded so complex over the decades, so that the average Nigerian can understand how the system works.'

Fashola explained actions often taken by some groups or individuals would have grave consequences on the society.

He said in this regards: 'So if people break down pipelines, you know that you have weakened the system. No matter how angry you are, a broken pipeline is going to affect you, because you won't have power. If people feel that the best way to secure employment for their colleagues in the union is to shut down a gas or power plant, the truth is that you are going to hurt more people than the people you intend to protect.'

Speaking on some of the issues that were discussed at the meeting, Fashola said: 'We have subjected our meetings to some of the stress tests and the result was a unanimous 'Yes.' So in terms of specifics, the meeting addressed problems of gas, it addressed problems of financial stability, the problem of volatility of foreign exchange in the sector as to how that affects the ability of the Gencos and the Discos to implement their foreign technical service agreements with their foreign partners and how to remit money and pay as well as the difficulty of pricing of local gas consumption in dollars instead of in naira.'