The Federal Government has ordered all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms to complete and submit self-certification forms. The directive was announced, yesterday, via the Federal Government’s Twitter handle. The government warned that failure to comply may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.
It stated: “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. “Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.” According to the government, the certification forms would be in three categories, which are: “Form for Entity – For Controlling Person (Individuals having controlling interest in a legal person, trustee, etc.) – Form for individual.”
The government urged Nigerians to comply with the requirements and execute all forms needs, if not, sanctions may be introduced in the forms of monetary penalty or inability to operate the account. It is not yet clear how the self-certification process differs from the bank verification number (BVN) and national identification number (NIN).
The BVN is a prerequisite to owning a bank account and it is used to link all bank and pension accounts owned by an individual. The NIN is also another form of identification introduced by the Federal Government and is a prerequisite for getting an international passport. The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is currently harmonising the NIN and BVN and has set a five-year target to register all Nigerians after getting a $430 million World Bank loan for the Nigeria digital identification for development project. In September, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) launched an automatic exchange of information-common reporting standard (AEOICRS) system for the use of financial institutions which it described as a step towards “aligning the country’s tax system with global standards.” The Federal Government has also not announced what provisions would be made for citizens in the diaspora given that they partook in the NIN, BVN enrolment.