Nairametrics| The Federal Government announced on Tuesday that it will no longer be selling Treasury Bills to retail investors. In what it called a “New Market Structure” the Debt Management Office (DMO) said the minimum amount that can be used to invest directly in Treasury Bills is now N50, 001,000. This effectively puts it out of the reach of retail investors.
This means that anyone who wishes to buy Treasury Bills but does not have up to N50 million must buy through a bank in the secondary market. The major difference now is that; you are now at the mercy of a bank and may have to collect lower yields. Treasury Bills yields have sky rocketed of late, trading for as high as 20% for a one year yield. It is unclear if the rate you get at a secondary market will be the same as what you get in a primary market. Banks, who have complained about the effect of high yield Treasury Bills on getting cheaper deposits, will breathe an air of respite as retail investors will be marketed fixed deposits and other bank products which hitherto could not compete with Treasury Bills.
Why this change
The DMO in a publication in the papers explained that it had introduced a new Market Structure since it has now introduced what it calls FGN Savings Bonds. The FGN Savings Bond, unlike Treasury Bills and FGN Bonds, will have a tenor of 2-3 years and quarterly interest rates. Treasury Bills have a tenor of 91 days, 182 days and 364 days respectively. Each tenor comes with an interest calculated per annum. FGN Bonds are as high as 10 years.
So apparently, the government is inadvertently rerouting retail investments in Treasury Bills to its FGN savings bonds program, freeing up short term T-bills for commercial banks. The new FGN Savings bonds can be bought for as low as N5,000 in multiples of N1,000.