Nigeria: Why Govt's Bonds Were Oversubscribed in 2019 - Expert

14 August 2019

The Federal Government has recorded oversubscription of its savings bonds offers consistently since January 2019.

The Debt Management Office (DMO) offers the bonds to the general public as part of capital raising to fund the 2019 budget.

The office has raised the sum of N3.1 billion from the savings bonds which are targeted at retail investors.

Official data published on the DMO website shows that retail investors showed more interest in the three-year savings bond where they staked N2.38 billion with a total of 1,980 number of subscriptions compared to N541.07 million with a total of 1,109 number of subscriptions which they invested in the two-year savings bond.

Professor of Development Economics, University of Abuja, Professor Sarah Anyanwu explained that buying of bonds is another form of converting cash to wealth.

She said bonds are an asset and very safe which was why "for those that understand it, they will continue to purchase it if they have the means. It is like buying gold and keeping dollars; it is safe and cannot depreciate like ordinary cash. So it is another way to save money because of inflation rate."

"If you keep cash at home the bargaining power will depreciate but when you buy these bonds you will know that you are turning your cash to wealth and investment. And it is interest yielding and you will be richer for it".

The don also said it is good if people have the knowledge to turn their cash to other forms of assets like land, housing because these forms appreciate, adding that buying Federal Government bonds is very lucrative and can never turn into a bad investment.

"Government will always be. There will always be continuity, and your money will always be there compared to buying shares from these banks that are not standing well; keeping your money with these banks is somewhat at a risk," Professor Anyanwu said.

She also noted that buying FG bonds "makes one a creditor to the government; your money is intact, you are sure of getting your principal and interest and as a creditor to FG it adds to your integrity."

But she also lamented that not many in the masses can afford to feed themselves, let alone have money for investment.

"How many people can afford to buy these bonds," she queried.

"It is all these rich men that must be subscribing for the bonds. The five to 10 percent of the population. Because majority of Nigerians have not really eaten well, let alone buy bonds, that is why income inequality will continue to increase.

"These billionaires buy these bonds and they become richer while the poor become and remain poorer," she lamented.

She called on government to tackle inflation rate and put in place income assistance programmes that will tackle unemployment, tackle poverty, and ensure inclusive growth.

"Government has a lot to do get us out of poverty.It must increase production, improve aggregate supply and productivity of labour, make business environment conducive to produce and also encourage businesses so they don't collapse.

"Government must also ensure that public jobs are for those qualified for them and not just for who knows who," she said.

"Have you observed that from Giri to City Gate there is no industry at all. All you see are just filling stations. Serious economies would have built industries along that road, create jobs.

"Until we get job creation right, poverty level will not reduce and if poverty level is still on the high side, kidnapping and other crimes will continue to persist," she warned.

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