Following the posting of an article about the features and benefits of Treasury bills investment, I have received many questions from some readers who wishes to know how someone can buy Gambia treasury bills and Sukuk Al Salam.
I therefore developed a question and answer article which discusses the key steps to buy Gambia Treasury bills.
What are treasury bills?
Treasury bills are debt instruments issued by the Central Bank of Gambia on behalf of the government to finance expenditures or to control the flow of money in the economy. Whiles it is a control and financing tools for government, it is also a high yield short term investment product in the Gambia.
Again if you want to read more about the features of Gambia treasury bills, then read the first article.
How are treasury bills sold in the Gambia?
Treasury Bills are sold through a weekly auction (Tuesdays) conducted by the Central bank of the Gambia. Buyers investing D1 million and above are requested to quote their bids. However, the weighted average bid price of competitive bidder is used for those investments below D1 million face value.
Where can you buy treasury bills in the Gambia?
You can buy Gambia Treasury bills through any of the commercial banks; the official primary dealers. The easiest will be through your bank as most banks in the Gambia are primary dealers for treasury bills transaction.
How can you buy Gambia treasury bills?
To buy Treasury Bills in the Gambia, you have to first make sure that your account is funded with the amount you intend to buy. Visit your bank and ask for the Treasury bills investment form. You fill the relevant form with your personal information also indicating the amount you intend to buy. If you are making a competitive bid (Above D1 million) and you are not sure of the bid price, ask your bankers to advise you. For those investing face value less than D1 million, just complete the form and submit it to your bank.
Note – In addition to treasury bill purchase form, some banks may ask you to complete another form which mandate them to debit your account.
Can you buy Treasury bills from outside the weekly auction?
Yes, you can buy Treasury Bills from the secondary market through the primary dealers. This is also where buyers and sellers of Treasury Bills trade the bills in exchange for cash. However, this practice is not common in the Gambia, as most banks buy the treasury bills with intend of holding them till maturity. This implies that they will most likely sell at a higher price than the primary issue. My best advice is to wait till the following week.
What is the minimum investment amount?
The minimum face value for treasury bill in the Gambia is D25,000 per investment. There is no maximum amount as this is subject to what Central Bank accept from the auction.
Can you sell Treasury bill before the maturity date?
Yes, you can sell Treasury Bills before maturity. Similar to the secondary market purchase, this can be done through the primary dealers. However, if you decide not to hold the bill to maturity, your investment might be higher or lower depending on the prevailing yield. Should you decide to sell, note that the higher the current yield, the lower the value of the bill and vice versa.
How is the interest calculated on treasury bills?
Interest on Treasury Bills is calculated as the differences between the face value and cost of the investment. For example, if you invest D100,000 in a 91-day Treasury Bills at cost of D 91,840.00, your interest will be D8,160.
The discount rate and yield on treasury bills are therefore determined through a combination of the discounted value, face value and the maturity length. NB – The technical name for the interest on treasury bills is called discounted income.
When is the interest paid?
The interest element of a treasury bill is paid to you upfront. For example, if you purchase a 364 days, D100, 000 Treasury Bills with a price of D82.13 per D100, the primary dealer will only debit your account with D82,130.00, implying that it has paid you D17,870 upfront. Upon maturity, you will be paid the full face value of D100, 000.
Some primary dealers may deduct the whole D100,000 from your account at the time of receiving your investment request and refund the interest a day after the auction.
Can you rollover the investment?
The Central bank and primary dealers will usually not automatically rollover your investment . However, you can give your bank a mandate to rollover the principal on your treasury bill upon maturity. You can also get the benefit of compounding interest by asking your bank to reinvest the interest part of your Treasury Bills once it is paid.
What next ?
Feel free to let me know if you are not clear on any part of the Gambia treasury bill investment process. If in case you want to know the most recent rates, please visit our page on Gambia treasury bill rates or see the table below with the most recent yield.