How to Invest in Treasury Bills in Kenya


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In six simple steps here is how to invest in government treasury bills in Kenya. 

Treasury bills are sold by the Central Bank of Kenya.  You can choose to buy them directly from the CBK or go through an agent such as a bank or fund manager. To make the most out of an investment in Treasury Bills, purchase treasury bills directly through CBK. Agents and fund managers, charge a fee and often have a minimum amount you can invest through them. 

The process of buying may seem intimidating but once you go through it once, it becomes second nature. So, here is a step by step guide on how to invest in treasury bills in Kenya.

Step 1: Decide What You What

Two things you need to decide:

  1. Bonds or Treasury Bills
  2. How long you want to commit your money
  3. How much can you invest

By the time you have decided to invest in treasury bills, you’ll already have in mind a figure you’d like to invest and for how long you would like to invest.

Simply get on the Central Bank of Kenya website, see what Treasury bills are currently on offer and make a selection based on your investment objectives. 

Typically, treasury bills are offered every week and have varying maturities of 91 days, 182 days and 364 days. Therefore, you don’t have to wait long to invest or for your investment to mature. Treasury bills are great for any short-term investment objectives. 

  • Looking at the previous auction results gives you a good guide on the kind of returns to expect. 
  • You should decide on a maturity length based on the recent interest rates, which can give you an idea of what to expect in upcoming auctions, and based on how long you can commit your funds for.

NOTE: The minimum face value purchase for Treasury bills is Kshs. 100,000, and you must invest in denominations of Kshs. 50,000. Because Treasury bills are sold at a discount, this face value amount is what you will receive at the end of the 91, 182 or 364-day maturity. Your initial investment will be less than the face value (this amount shall be provided to you by Central Bank).

Step 2: Open A CDS Account

If you do not already have one, the first step to investing in treasury bills is opening a CDS account with Central Bank of Kenya. To do this, you’ll need to place a one-time application with CBK. Thus, collect a mandate card from CBK branches in major across the country (Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret)  or Currency Centres in Nyeri Meru and Nakuru.

To successfully make an application you’ll need the following: 

  • A bank account with a Kenyan commercial bank
  • Two signatories from your bank to verify information provided i.e. bank account details and contact information
  • Duly filled mandate in accordance with CBK guidelines for individuals, joint account holders or corporates. 
  • A bank certified and stamped passport-sized photograph of yourself 
  • A copy of your National Identity Card, Passport or Alien Certificate

Typically, if doesn’t take long to have your CDS account up and running. 

Step 3: Make An Application 

Once you have your CDS account, complete a Treasury Bill application form. Fill in the details of the treasury bill you want to purchase i.e. issue number, maturity period, face value amount you want upon maturity and, include your personal details as well. 

  • On the application form, you have two options for selecting a rate, which determines how much you will pay for the bill and, therefore, what your return will be when the bill matures. You should select either the Interest/Competitive Rate or the Non-Competitive/Average Rate.
  • Investors choosing the Interest/Competitive Rate bid on the Treasury bills by submitting interest rates they would like to pay. The Central Bank then decides what bids it will accept and determines a cutoff. Investors who submitted interest rates above that cutoff do not receive Treasury bills from that auction.
  • Investors who choose the Non-Competitive/Average Rate are guaranteed to receive Treasury bills from the auction, but their interest rate is a weighted average of the accepted bids from the investors who entered Interest/Competitive rates. While they are guaranteed to receive a bill, the maximum face value for Non-Competitive/Average Rate applications is Kshs. 20 million.
  • The final section on the application form is the Rollover Instructions. To easily facilitate re-investment, investors with maturing bills and bonds can use their returns to purchase further government securities.

You can find a sample Treasury Bill Application Form HERE.

You must submit your application form to the Central Bank’s head office or one of its branches by 2 pm on Thursday for 364, 182 and 91-day bills.

Step 4: Auction Results

The auction results are published in Kenyan daily newspaper and on CBK’s website, after being considered by the Central Bank’s Auction Management Committee (AMC). The AMC meets at 4 pm on auction days to carefully review and consider all bids made, and then determine the cut-off rate and determine weight average of all the accepted bids. So if you submitted a bid, keep your eyes peeled for the results as you will need to make payment by 2 pm on the following Monday or, if the subsequent Monday is a public holiday, then make a payment on the following Tuesday. Before anything, get in touch with CBK to determine what your payment will be. 

Step 5: Invest 

Once successful, you’ll need to make payment within the payment period which usually closes on the following Monday at 2 pm. All payments are made to the Central Bank, through cash or banker’s cheques for amounts under KES. 1 Million and for larger amounts, payment is made through a KEPSS transfer. Failure by successful applicants to submit payment within the stipulated period can have them barred from any future investments in government securities. No slacking here. 

Step 6: Roll Over or Withdraw Investment Proceeds

At the end of the investment period i.e. 91 days, 182 days or even 364 day period, the face value of your investment will be credited the bank account you’ve linked to your CDS account. Alternatively, you may have the choice to roll over your investment into the next investment period. Thus, while completing the form, ensure that you give the rollover instructions and submit to Central Bank before the closure of the period of sale for the bill.  

Summary: Steps In Investing in Treasury Bills

Here is a summary of the above steps to take as a beginner in investing in treasury bills in Kenya:

Timeline of how to invest in treasury bills in KenyaHappy Investing! 🙂

Image credits: Top by Pixabay via Pexels

See also:

Disclaimer: The information contained in our website, blog, guest blogs, e-mails, videos, programs, services and/or products is for educational and informational purposes only, and is made available to you as self-help tools for your own use.

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Irene Makanga
Irene has an MBA in Finance and is an avid businesswoman, passionate about financial literacy.


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