FINANCIAL experts on Monday advised regulators of the Federal Government Savings Bond to create awareness in rural areas to promote savings culture among rural dwellers. The experts said that the regulators needed more awareness campaign to ensure maximum participation of retail investors. NAN reports that the bond opened for subscription on Monday on the Nigerian Stock Exchange NSE. Dr Uche Uwaleke, Head of Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, urged the Debt Management Office  DMO, Securities and Exchange Commission SEC, and NSE to go beyond television adverts and flyers in the campaign. Uwaleke said that the savings bond was a good initiative, adding that it would promote savings culture, especially among low income earners. “With just N5,000, an individual can invest in the FGN savings bond, which pays interest every quarter and has no risk (except inflation risk) since it is backed by the Federal Government. “Another attractive feature of the bond is that it is a medium- term (from two to three years) bond unlike treasury bills that are short-termed and do not really encourage long-term savings,” Uwaleke stated. He said that the bond would be liquid since it would be quoted on the secondary capital market. According to him, the new asset class will boost activities and size of the bond market as well as enhance the revenue of stockbroking firms that will participate in the processes. Prof. Sheriffadeen Tella of the Department of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago- Iwoye, lauded the government for floating the bond. Tella said that bond-floating by government to raise funds from domestic market often served as a test of confidence in the economy. Tella said that it would be commendable if the Federal Government could raise the required funds. “If the government is able to meet its target, it is a sign of confidence in the capital market and economy generally and vice versa. “We need to note, however, that investment in bond by the public or corporate bodies will affect the quantum of available funds for private sector, which is called crowding out effects. “If the fund raised by government is, however, used to fund small and medium scale enterprises rather than finance government consumption, the economy will be better, since they (enterprises) are part of the private sector,” Tella said. NAN reports that the FGN Savings Bond is being issued at 13.01 per cent interest rate to retail investors.

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