FG generates N10.5b from savings bond in 18 months

Ms Patience Oniha, Director-General, Debt Management Office, Nigeria.•BPE plans reforms to deepen financial inclusion
The Federal Government has so far raised about N10.5 billion from the savings bond since the establishment 18 months ago.The Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Patience Oniha, disclosed this during a panel discussion at the 2018 African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) held in Lagos yesterday.
According to Oniha, the savings bond was introduced in March 2018 to attract more retail investors into the capital market and deepen financial inclusion. She said the DMO was studying the possibility of adopting the use of phones as practiced in Kenya to ensure that retail investors participate directly in government securities.
The DG, who spoke on the theme, “Pathways to Inclusive Growth in Africa, Digital Finance, Financial Literacy, Inclusion and Democratisation of Wealth” said: “From the 18 months of the creation of the FGN savings bonds, we have been able to raise N10.5 billion and attracted 13,200 retail investors into the market. As you know the DMO borrows on behalf of the government. One of our objectives is to be able to issue our securities in a timely manner and at a very minimal cost.”
On the use of technology in government securities, she said: “The issue around what technology can do in terms of raising capital is extremely important to us. We, traditionally for a long term, have been serving only a segment of the market, which includes the institutional investors and foreign investors.
“There is no buy side from the retail investors because they need to be knowledgeable and familiar to invest in the sovereign bond. So we then try to introduce a retail product and we call it FGN bond. The essence of that product is to promote financial inclusion primarily because part of the financial system strategy and inclusion is clearly the major objective of creating that product so as to attract small investors into the market and also use it as a means of mobilizing savings into the financial sector.
“So we kept the amount very small at N10,000 so many interested investors can buy a saving bond, and the securities are short term between two to three years and we backed it up with a bit of investors sensitization and road shows.”
Oniha stated that a lot needed to be done in order to attract local investors that exited the equity market during the global financial crises back to the stock market and boost financial inclusion.
According to her, the present administration is committed to partnering with the capital market to promote initiatives and create products aimed at accelerating inclusive growth.
The Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Mr. Alex Okoh stressed the need for government to create enabling environment for business to strive.
According to him, the BPE would continue to initiate reforms and ensure that the success recorded in the telecoms industry is replicated in other sectors of the economy.

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