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All Your Questions Answered: Fixed Income Investments in Nigeria

Fixed income investments, also known as debt instruments, are financial assets that provide a predetermined stream of interest payments to investors over a specific period. In Nigeria, these instruments play a crucial role in diversifying investment portfolios and generating steady income streams.

Understanding fixed income investments is essential for building a well-rounded portfolio. By allocating a portion of their assets to fixed income securities, investors can potentially mitigate the volatility associated with equity investments and achieve a more balanced risk-return profile.

Fixed income investments are particularly attractive to investors with lower risk tolerance. Retirees or those seeking a reliable source of income are a good example. These instruments offer a predictable stream of cash flows. This makes them suitable for investors who prioritize capital preservation and income generation over potential capital appreciation.

Types of Fixed Income Investments in Nigeria

Government Bonds

The Nigerian government issues various types of bonds, including Treasury Bills, Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds, and Savings Bonds. These instruments are considered low-risk investments as they are backed by the full faith and credit of the Nigerian government.

  1. Treasury Bills: Short-term debt instruments with maturities ranging from 91 days to 364 days. They are issued at a discount and redeemed at par value upon maturity. Thus, providing investors with a fixed rate of return.
  2. FGN Bonds: Longer-term debt securities with maturities ranging from 3 to 30 years. They offer semi-annual coupon payments and provide investors with a fixed interest rate over the bond's lifetime.
  3. Savings Bonds: These bonds are for retail investors and offer a fixed interest rate over a specific tenor (ranging from 2 to 5 years). They are available in smaller denominations, making them accessible to a wider range of investors.

When comparing risk levels and returns, Investors consider Treasury Bills the least risky. This is followed by FGN Bonds. On the other hand, Savings Bonds may offer slightly higher returns to compensate for their longer tenors.

Corporate Bonds

Corporate bonds are debt instruments issued by private companies to raise capital. Unlike government bonds, corporate bonds are subject to credit risk. This is because the issuer's ability to make interest payments and repay principal depends on the company's financial health.

When assessing corporate bonds, investors must consider the issuer's creditworthiness and the bond's credit rating. These reflect the risk of default. Higher-rated bonds tend to offer lower yields, while lower-rated (riskier) bonds offer higher yields to compensate investors for the increased risk.

Investors should exercise caution and conduct thorough research when investing in corporate bonds. This is because the risk of default can lead to potential losses.

Commercial Papers

Commercial papers are short-term debt instruments issued by corporations to meet their short-term financing needs. These instruments typically have maturities ranging from a few days to one year. This makes them suitable for investors seeking temporary investment opportunities or short-term cash management solutions.

Money Market Funds

Money market funds are mutual funds that invest in highly liquid, short-term debt instruments. These funds aim to provide investors with a low-risk investment option while offering returns that are slightly higher than traditional savings accounts.

Money market funds are pooled investment vehicles. They allow investors to access a diversified portfolio of fixed income securities with relatively low minimum investment requirements. Investors often consider them a suitable when seeking temporary cash management solutions or a parking place for excess funds.

How to Invest in Fixed Income Securities in Nigeria

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Invest in Fixed Income Securities in Nigeria

Step-by-Step Guide

Compare different providers before opening a brokerage/investment account: To invest in fixed income securities in Nigeria, you'll need to open an account with a licensed brokerage firm or investment bank. This process typically involves completing an account opening form, providing personal identification documents, and meeting any minimum investment requirements.

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Understanding the bidding process: For government bonds, such as Treasury Bills and FGN Bonds, investors typically participate in auctions conducted by the Debt Management Office (DMO) or the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). These auctions follow a bidding process where investors submit their desired purchase amounts and the interest rates, they are willing to accept.

Choosing investments based on risk tolerance and goals: Before investing in fixed income securities, it's crucial to assess your risk tolerance, investment horizon, and financial goals. Consider factors such as your age, income needs, and overall investment strategy to determine the appropriate allocation to fixed income instruments.

Risks and Advantages of Fixed Income Investments


  1. Interest rate risk: Changes in market interest rates can affect the value of fixed income investments. When interest rates rise, the value of existing bonds tends to decline, and vice versa.
  2. Inflation risk: Fixed income investments may not provide returns that keep pace with inflation. This can lead to a potential erosion of purchasing power over time.
  3. Default risk: Corporate bonds and commercial papers carry the risk of the issuer defaulting on their interest payments or failing to repay the principal amount, particularly if the issuer experiences financial difficulties.


  1. Steady income generation: Fixed income investments provide a predictable stream of interest payments, making them suitable for investors seeking regular income.
  2. Potential for capital preservation: Compared to equities, fixed income investments are generally considered less volatile and may help preserve capital, particularly for lower-risk government bonds.
  3. Portfolio diversification benefits: Incorporating fixed income securities into a portfolio can help diversify risk and potentially improve overall risk-adjusted returns. It's important to note that while fixed income investments may offer lower potential returns compared to equities, they can play a crucial role in managing risk and providing stability within a diversified investment portfolio.

Taxation Considerations

The taxation of interest earned on fixed income investments in Nigeria is an important consideration for investors. Here are some key points regarding the tax implications:

Withholding Tax on Interest Income: In Nigeria, interest income earned from fixed income investments is subject to a withholding tax. The applicable withholding tax rate varies depending on the type of investment and the investor's residency status.

  • Residents, the withholding tax rate on interest income from bonds (including FGN Bonds and corporate bonds) is 10%.
  • Non-residents, the withholding tax rate on interest income from bonds is 10%.
  • Interest earned on Treasury Bills and other short-term Federal Government securities, the withholding tax rate is generally 10% for both residents and non-residents.

Exemptions and Tax Breaks: Certain fixed income investments may be exempt from withholding tax or eligible for tax breaks. For example:

  • Interest earned on Federal Government Savings Bonds is exempt from withholding tax for resident individuals.
  • Pension funds and approved retirement benefits schemes are exempt from withholding tax on interest income from fixed income investments.

Tax Deductibility: For corporate investors, interest expenses incurred on borrowings used to finance the acquisition of fixed income investments may be tax-deductible, subject to certain conditions.

Tax Reporting: Investors are typically required to report their interest income from fixed income investments on their annual tax returns. The withholding tax deducted at source may be creditable against the investor's final tax liability.

It's important to note that tax laws and regulations can change over time. So, investors are advised to consult with tax professionals or relevant authorities to ensure compliance with the latest tax rules and regulations.

Key Takeaways and Advice

When it comes to fixed income investments in Nigeria, here are some key takeaways and advice for potential investors:

  1. Diversification is key: While fixed income investments can provide stability and income generation, they should not be the sole focus of an investment portfolio. Diversifying across different asset classes, including equities and other investments, can help mitigate risk and potentially enhance overall returns.
  2. Understand your risk tolerance: Fixed income investments offer varying levels of risk and return. It's essential to assess your risk tolerance, investment horizon, and financial goals to determine the appropriate allocation to fixed income securities within your portfolio.
  3. Conduct thorough research: Before investing in corporate bonds or commercial papers, it's crucial to conduct thorough research on the issuer's creditworthiness, financial health, and credit ratings. Consulting with financial advisors or investment professionals can help navigate the risks associated with these investments.
  4. Consider tax implications: Be aware of the tax implications of interest income from fixed income investments, including withholding tax rates and potential exemptions or tax breaks. Consult with tax professionals to ensure compliance with applicable tax laws and regulations.
  5. Seek professional advice: While fixed income investments can be a valuable component of a diversified portfolio, it's advisable to consult with financial advisors or investment professionals to develop a personalized investment strategy tailored to your specific circumstances and objectives.

Remember, fixed income investments should not be viewed in isolation but rather as part of a well-rounded and diversified investment approach that aligns with your risk tolerance, goals, and financial situation.

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