FEDERAL government ministers have apologised for asking all Nigerian bank account holders in the country’s financial institutions for asking them to register their details again in a directive earlier this week.
Yesterday, the government asked all account holders in banks and insurance companies to fill and submit a self-confirmation form. This order was given despite the fact that most customers were already in possession of Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and the National Identification Numbers (NIN), which should have granted them automatic exemptions.
According to the directive, the failure to register details again could result in the federal government blocking access to defaulters’ accounts or imposing a monetary penalty. Immediately news of the development broke, it attracted widespread condemnation from numerous civil society groups, who said it was unfair to ask members of the public to fill in self-confirmation forms, despite already going through the process when getting their BVN and NIN accreditation.
Realising the mistake, the government apologised for the misinformation. It tweeted: “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.”
In its explanation, the Federal Inland Revenue Service explained that only reportable persons are expected to submit the form.
Its 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 (CRS) 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.”