BVN, TIN and NIN: What’s with All the Numbers?

Numbers, BVN ,TIN NIN nigeria

With the nation’s population projected to cross the three-hundred million threshold by 2036,

The Federal Government of Nigeria has realised the need to be able to identify its citizens for efficient administration.

Furthermore experience has shown the hassle involved in conducting a census (there are people that still dispute our current population figure claiming it is around 100 – 120 million but that’s an article for another day),

the government, no doubt inspired by America’s social security system, turned to issuing unique numbers to the citizenry, and as so far mandated three each Nigerian must have.

These numbers are:

Bank Verification Number (BVN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria implemented this to reduce illegal bank transactions.

It is a biometric identification system; making use of facial photographs and recording fingerprints.

Registration for a BVN can be done at any bank’s branch.

Every Nigerian with a bank account must have one. However the execution of the BVN program has not been without its share of controversies.

At a point, fraudsters attempted to use the launch of the system to phish for customers bank details.

Unfortunately there is the feeling that five years after it was introduced, the BVN exercise has still not quite achieved one of its aim of streamlining financial as banks still demand physical ID cards.

Tax Identification Number (TIN)

The TIN specifically introduced for tax purposes is a unique number that identifies individuals (or companies) for the purpose of paying taxes.

It is assigned to individuals based on their BVN, registration forms for the TIN can be obtained at any bank. Non-registration has far-reaching consequences.

Beginning from this month, without a TIN, individuals would be unable to operate bank accounts,

renew or procure new international passports or register new vehicles or renew existing licenses.

National Identification Number (NIN)

First introduced under President Goodluck Jonathan, the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC),

is responsible for issuing the National Identification Number and the commission has offices nationwide for this end.

It is compulsory for Nigerians and foreigners who have the right to work in the country to register for a NIN.

Like the Tax Identification Number, without the NIN, citizens are unable to access a wide-range of government services.


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