• Mercy Eke is the first female winner of the Big Brother Naija reality tv show
  • She walks away with N60 million in total prizes, N30 million of which is in cash
  • 2019’s N60 million in first place prizes is a 33% increase from the N45 million payout for the 2018 winner
  • Business Insider SSA looks at the best way to utilize the jackpot

An overnight millionaire

Big Brother Naija Season 4, which began on June 30th, 2019, finally came to an end on October 6th, 2019. A barefoot Mercy Eke, who kicked off her shoes in exhilaration, could not contain her joy as she bounced up and down the stage to celebrate her victory.

The final vote results

It wasn't close. Mercy's final vote tally of 41.77% was larger than the combined result of 2nd place Mike (19.94%) and 3rd place Frodd (16.46%). Omashola and Seyi placed 4th and 5th with 11.58% and 10.25% respectively.

Big Brother Naija final votes via Multichoice Nigeria
Big Brother Naija final votes via Multichoice Nigeria

At N30 per sms vote, organizers of the show made billions

Organizers of the reality tv show said they received 50 million votes in the final week of the show alone. With respect to the total number of votes received since the inception of the show, the figure being thrown around on social media is a staggering 240 million. That's more than the population of Nigeria. The proportion of those votes that are SMS has not been released by the organizers but even one-third of that, 80 million, would yield N2.4 billion to be shared. That doesn't include what brands paid for product placement during the show and ad space.

Breaking down Mercy's N60 million in Prizes

  • N30 million in cash
  • A brand new SUV from Innoson Motors
  • A brand new Oppo Mobile Smartphone
  • Two VIP tickets to a live European football match
  • Trip to Dubai for two (Airline tickets + Hotel + Feeding + Tourist attraction package)
  • Home makeover courtesy of appliance manufacturer Scanfrost
  • A year's supply of Pepsi
  • A year's supply of Indomie Noodles and 'Munch It'
  • A VVIP package to the One Africa Fest music festival in Dubai

How would you spend your N30 million jackpot? We have some suggestions

Convert the money to Dollars and put it in a USD Savings account

The best way to protect your BBNaija earnings is to convert it to U.S dollars. At N360/$, your N30 million in prize money is worth $83,333.33

Below are the highest rates offered for USD Savings account in America. Rates are updated every Wednesday. Note that the average rate offered is 0.90%.

USD Savings account rates via Investopedia
USD Savings account rates via Investopedia

The highest rate offered is 2.75% per annum. $83,333.33 at that rate would earn $2,291.67 every year. That's the equivalent of N825,000 per year. On a monthly basis, that's $190.97 or N68,750.

Even the lowest rate of 2.15% would earn $1,791.67 annually (N645,000) or $149.31 (N53,750) monthly.

Caution: Anyone looking to open a USD savings account should make sure the bank has Federal Deposit Insurance. Accounts are usually insured for up to $250,000 in case the bank fails. You should also make sure you have easy access to your money when you need it. Savings accounts usually come with a minimum balance to avoid monthly fees so be mindful of that.

Put the money in a Fixed Deposit account via an Investment App

Business Insider SSA recently looked at 9 investment apps to make your money work for you. You should shop around for the highest return possible that is also safe. Fixed Deposits are money market investments that offer a fixed rate of return and mature in under a year. The offer below from one of the apps features a 16% interest rate for a year with a maximum N10 million investment.

N10 million invested at 16% for one year in a Fixed Deposit
N10 million invested at 16% for one year in a Fixed Deposit

Your investment would yield N1.6 million a year before a 10% Withholding tax brings it down to N1.4 million. This tax is paid on Fixed deposits even if you invest the money in a bank.

Caution: Before you invest your money using an app from a financial services company that isn't a recognized bank, make sure the company is registered with the the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Invest in Treasury Bills

Treasury bills are Money Market instruments like Fixed Deposits offered by the Federal Government of Nigeria that mature in a year or less. There is a Primary Market where the Government offers t-bills directly to institutions and individuals for a minimum of N50 million. Since you have "only" N30 million, you can either get your t-bills through the Secondary market where retail banks offer the t-bills they got from the government to individuals, or have a bank pool your money together with other investors to make up the $50 million needed to invest directly with the government.

Rates last week averaged 13.3%. With Treasury bills, interest is paid upfront. So if you invested the full N30 million at 13.3%, you would receive N3.9 million in interest right away, and your N30 million principle amount when the bills mature. To increase her earnings further, she should re-invest the interest at another 13.3%. That is the magic of compounding interest.

Caution: There isn't too much to be cautious about with Treasury bills because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You are lending the money you invest to the Federal Government. Of course, one can never say never.....

How would you spend N30 million? Let us know