The Nigerian government has directed account holders in financial institutions across the country to complete a new “self-certification” form.
The Nigerian government made this known Thursday via its verified handle, @NigeriaGov.
In a series of tweets, the government said the new forms must be obtained, completed, and submitted by all account holders in financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies.
The form must be completed in order to enable financial institutions in Nigeria carry out due diligence in line with extant tax regulations, the government said.
“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,” the tweet said.
“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions is (sic) 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.
“The self-certification form is in 3 categories: – Form for Entity – For Controlling Person (Individuals having controlling interest in a legal person, trustee, etc) – Form for individual.”
The government added that “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 government thereafter directed enquiries to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
The announcement was however greeted with outrage on Twitter Thursday evening.
Many Nigerians who commented on the issue expressed worry over the duplication of such efforts across different departments and agencies of government.
Others wondered why the nation was fixated on such “analogue” and “laborious” means of generating data from its citizens.
A columnist and social commentator, Olusegun Adeniyi, wrote, “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?”
Another commentator, Debo Akintoye, complained of the challenge associated with such an idea. He wrote: “This is 21st century for goodness sake. What joy do this administration derive from stressing the populace. This administration is truly the worst. You’re so bent on making life miserable for us.”
A commentator, @Black_witch, wondered why the BVN could not serve the same purpose. “So what was the aim of doing BVN??” she asked.
Tweeting via the handle @Nsi_Me99, another commentator described the development as “absurd”.
“This is so absurd! Use an online platform for this,” he wrote.