Angry reactions as Nigeria announces mandatory bank self-certification
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said anyone who fails to register and submit their self-certification forms risk forfeiture of their bank accounts and other assets with financial institutions.
FIRS’s warning came after it announced that it is mandatory for all Nigerians operating bank accounts to register for self-certification at their respective banks.
“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,” FIRS chairman Muhammad Nami said in a circular on Thursday.
“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions is required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions.”
Nami explained that “the forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.”
The FIRS boss noted that the self-certification form is in 3 categories- form for an entity, for controlling person (individuals having a controlling interest in a legal person, trustee, etc), and form for individual holders of bank accounts.
“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,” Nami said.
The new requirement by the agency of the Nigerian government was not accepted by many Nigerians who criticised the government’s inability to harness all the data collected from people in the past.
Currently, Nigeria has multiple citizen’s collection data platforms – the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), National Identification Numbers (NIN), passport, driver’s license, SIM card registration and voters’ card. Persons without any of these cannot own and operate any bank account in Nigeria.
Many believed that all information required in the self-certification form has already been replicated in the existing citizens’ data platforms.
Others, however, argued that the new directive is part of the government’s plot to allegedly take control of their accounts for the multiplicity of taxation.
A spokesman for Ahmad Lawan, Nigeria’s Senate president, Abubakar Usman said the directive will impose additional stress on Nigerians.
“For the past months, entering banks has been hell as a result of restrictions brought about by Covid-19 and now FIRS want us to go to each bank and fill form. Common,” Usman tweeted.
“What is BVN meant to serve if FIRS want us to go and do self-certification?”
Other Nigerians are also not pleased with the directive.
— Sheikhs & Jargo (@JARGOFILS) September 17, 2020
— ebele. (@ebelee_) September 17, 2020
Self certification forms 🤣🤣
Go and fill your forms.
FIRS is coming.
Nigerians must enjoy more levies, taxes, tariffs, inflation, insecurity and bad economy
— IKECHUKWU (@iykimo) September 17, 2020
Self-Certification is a code name for violation of privacy and giving the Nigerian government and FIRS opportunity to steal directly from your bank account. Its only in Nigeria one person would do Biometrics, BVN, National ID, Drivers license and still do Self-Certification. pic.twitter.com/4WKtV2ZZfm
— The Omonile Lawyer™ (@MatthewOttah) September 17, 2020
Let’s Be Guided HM @DrIsaPantami. This is a Core function of @firsNigeria.Not a function of @FMoCDENigeria.Request from FIRS to Banks is within FIRS Constitutional Remit who are Custodian of Tax Records. Let’s be Wary of pressure from those who don’t understand Govt Workings… https://t.co/CVdyMF6UVN
— Isuph JT (@IsuphJt) September 17, 2020
O God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
Pharaoh no do reach this our government before you reason him matter ooo😭😭😭
After National ID, Drivers License, BVN, Sim Registration they still want to do Self-Certification!!
FIRS what exactly is your problem? ND 2023 still far oo😭😭😭 https://t.co/5hDmD0t18z
— Senator dEKUNLE 🔥⚒️ (@Dekunle_1) September 17, 2020
The FIRS is about to pull one of the biggest stealing mechanisms off Nigerians! Hence the irrational thought process channelled towards this Self-Certification process.
(Like can Nigerians get over with this thing already lets start cashing out)?
— Mazi Chuks 30Billion OT🐐 (@oti_pr) September 17, 2020
Nigerians are more concerned about filling forms online no one is bothered that the govt through firs is about to take charge of everyone's account all in the name of taxation. https://t.co/XYBYLKXBtQ
— AYO . FOWOSERE (@espeezeal) September 17, 2020
Whoever conceived of this idea in @firsNigeria needs to be sacked without delay. Nations are imposing lockdown due to COVID-19 & the only thing on FIRS' mind is to send aged citizen (vulnerable age) to untimely deaths. Whatever happened to remote online access @IsuphJt @Banjy47 https://t.co/y5J5VcOBWK
— Teejones . (@tfx47) September 17, 2020