The Nigerian government has ordered all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms to complete and submit Self-certification forms.
This was announced by the Federal Government in a social media statement on Thursday. The FG warned that failure to comply may include a 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 & 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.”
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.
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) September 17, 2020
According to the government, the certification forms would be in 3 categories, which are “Form for Entity – For Controlling Person (Individuals having controlling interest in a legal person, trustee, etc) – Form for individual”.
Comply or face sanctions: 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.
- The government did not explain what those sanctions will be and how it will be implemented.
- The inability to operate the account suggests the government could end up freezing the bank account of Nigerians
- Nigerians have over N30 trillion in bank deposits according to Nairalytics research.
What this means: It appears this is part of the government’s efforts to widen the tax base as it steps up its strategy of relying on taxes to increase its revenue. Government revenue has been hard hit by the drop in oil prices and the Covid-19 Pandemic affecting its ability to pay for development programs, meet overheads and offer palliatives to Nigerians who are reeling from economic crunch.
The government has over the years introduced several measures targeted at increasing tax revenues. For example…
- Last year, the FIRS launched a new universal TIN aimed to boost tax compliance and revenue collection in the country.
- Former FIRS Boss, Fowler, stated then that “the new system is able to generate TIN automatically for newly registered cooperate taxpayers from CAC, verify TIN details and print TIN certificate, using the TIN Verification Portal.
- And that “The system also allows tax officials and taxpayers to initiate TIN registration from the comfort of their homes/offices and at their convenience, as the system also notifies the taxpayer through a robust and secured system-system integration, with transparent and convenient benefits.”
What they are Saying: Social media in Nigeria erupted in a frenzy as twitter users reacted to the tweets by the government’s handle.
- Tweets had gathered over 3,800 comments, over 8,000 retweets, over 3000 tweets.
- Here are some tweets;
BVN. Driver's license. National ID card. INEC registration. International passport. Biometrics were taken in all these places. So, what is the meaning of this?
— Olusegun Adeniyi (@Olusegunverdict) September 17, 2020
Best to wait and understand the goal of the certification first. Looks like a self-enforcement tax issue, not an identification issue. Let’s get details.
— Amaka Anku (@AmakaAnku) September 17, 2020
Dear Nigerians, let's gather and cry under this tweet. For God sake, They can make the form available online. We'll just fill and submit but are acting as if we are in the 20th century.
— Abdullahi Misilli (@Abdallahmisilli) September 17, 2020
So people in the abroad (sic) should also come and queue up to fill forms. Unless that's your target, to take people's hard earned money away from them. How does this policy even make sense in this pandemic season? Who still queues up physically for banking activities in 2020?
— Mr Scholes (@solscholes) September 17, 2020
— Valentine Ohu (@Valentine_Ohu) September 17, 2020