Nigerian govt apologises for asking all bank, other account holders to re-register

President Muhammadu Buhari

The Nigerian government has apologised for asking all account holders in the country’s financial institutions to re-register their details again by completing a self-certification form.

The directive had been given to all category of people and business owners who operate account in banks and insurance companies, not minding the fact that there had been similar exercises in the past, which resulted in issuing Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the National Identification Number (NIN) to all account holders.

To ensure compliance, the Nigerian government had threatened to block access to defaulters’ accounts or impose a monetary penalty.

But a day after the order which attracted condemnation from Nigerians on the social media was given, government had withdrawn its order, saying it was a misinformation and had tendered an apology.

This was made known in a tweet on Friday, as the government apologised to Nigerians.

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The tweet read: “We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly.”

In a press statement, it later issued, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) explained that it is only a category of people referred to as “reportable persons” who are expected to submit the form.

FIRS statement read: “This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self-certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfilment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.

“The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons holding accounts in Financial institutions that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.

“Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose.”

Earlier, the Nigerian government had tweeted: “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Failure to comply with the requirement to administer or execute this form attracts sanctions which may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.”