Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning

Government apologises for misinforming bank account holders to re-register

*Message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody ─Federal Government

*Reportable persons are often non-residents, and other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country, says FIRS

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government of Nigeria has apologised to consumers of financial products and services for initially asking them that all account holders in the banking and other financial institutions in the country should re-register their details.

The government in a tweet via a verified Twitter handle of the Government of Nigeria @NigeriaGov Friday, September 18, 2020, apologised for the earlier misinformation.

It stated: “We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday (Thursday), 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.”

The Federal Government said it apologised for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), also in a statement, explained that only “reportable persons” are expected to submit the form.

FIRS said: “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.

The tax regulator further clarified that “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.”

Recall that the Federal Government earlier asked all account holders in banks, including insurance companies in the country to fill and submit a Self-Confirmation form

The order was issued Thursday despite that most bank account holders possess the Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) and National Identification Numbers (NINs).

It 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.”

The misrepresented order to fill another Self-Confirmation form, despite the existing BVNs and NINs, had attracted condemnations from a broad spectrum of Nigerians, especially on social media platforms before the latest clarification.

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