BORDER INFORMATION CENTRE (BIC)
THE BORDER INFORMATION CENTRE
The BIC is a project carried out in conjunction with USAID and West Africa Trade Hub (WATH) to give information to cross-border traders of what they need to know to effectively carry out seamless trade. The project is also a means of formalizing the traditional informal cross –border trade and blocking of associated revenue leakages.
BICs are platforms of exchange between all stakeholders in cross-border trade, and they help facilitate collaboration between these stakeholders. The aim is to solve the issues that occur most often during operations at border crossings, and which could constitute obstacles to trade and integration in West Africa. They are designed to provide all information needed by stakeholders, and to help importers and exporters reduce the costs and delays associated with import, export and transit transactions.
The Operation Of The BICs
The BICs are established to amongst others, advice public and private stakeholders on the regional agreements designed to streamline rules and procedures, as well as to take practical measures for easing congestion through organizational and infrastructural improvements. It was observed that average clearance times at Borders where BICs operate decreased by 27% in 2013.
The ECOWAS and other international agencies strongly appreciate and support the BICs and this is in view of the overall integrative roles of these initiatives in West Africa.
The BICs has been established and commissioned at;
Seme/Krake Border Post,
Jibya – Maradi
Illela – Sokoto
Mfum – Cross River
The Practical day-to-day activities at the BIC
· Information dissemination;
· Onsite assistance for traders;
· One-on-one training based on stakeholders needs;
· Collections of trade statistics;
· Identifying the key causes of delays at the border in order for the necessary action to be taken.
· Collaboration with border agencies to promote cross border trade.