The Nigerian government on Friday apologised for misinforming Nigerians about its new self-certification policy.
Tweeting via the handle @NigeriaGov, the government said the message contained in the notice does not affect all Nigerians as erroneously communicated on Thursday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Nigerian government had on Thursday directed account holders in financial institutions across the country to complete a new “self-certification” form.
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.
The announcement was, however, greeted with outrage on Twitter and other social networking sites.
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.
In a subsequent tweet on Friday, the government apologised for misleading Nigerians.
“We apologize for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons,” the tweet reads.
Earlier on Friday, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) clarified that the directive is not for all bank customers.
The FIRS said that the form is required to be completed by customers of financial institutions who maintain accounts in countries and tax jurisdictions other than Nigeria.
The new development becomes necessary to enable regulatory bodies use the details for tax and anti-money laundering monitoring purposes.
“This is to clarify that 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 FIRS said.
“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 (Common Reporting Standard).
“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country. Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.”