Burkina Faso / Niger
The state regulatory body of Burkina Faso (Autorité Supérieure de Contrôle d’Etat: ASCE) announced plans to revise a transit agreement with Niger relating to cross-border transportation of petroleum products in particular, according to a report by news agency Niger Diaspora on 8 December 2013.
The decision to revise the transit agreement comes in response to a request made in May 2012 by the state authority of Niger in charge of fighting corruption and crime (Haute Autorité de Lutte contre la Corruption et les Infractions Assimilées: Halcia), which called for greater collaboration to combat fraud and corruption regarding fuel and crude oil tankers crossing the border at Torodi in landlocked Niger and Kantchari in Burkina Faso, en route to countries with seaports, including Côte d'Ivoire, Benin, and Togo. ASCE is proposing the provision of a security escort to oil tankers to deter theft, as well as the centralisation of paperwork at a single office in Niamey to enhance oversight and proper verification.
Revision of the transit agreement will increase customs collaboration and reduce the number of payments made to different custom officers in principle. This co-operation is in line with the Bali Package agreed by the World Trade Organization, of which both Niger and Burkina Faso are members.
However, the revision is likely to be merely aspirational since implementation will face several challenges, including a lack of co-operation by custom officers. Bribes and the payment of fees to receive preferential treatment in a bid to avoid delays have been a source of revenue for custom officers to supplement their salary.
Moreover, the centralisation of paperwork will grant considerable power to corrupt bureaucrats in the capitals, which is likely to create unintended delays to cross-border movement of oil tankers and likely demand for facilitation fees.