Liberia bars officals from traveling abroad

Liberia president

For the next 60-days, government officials in Liberia will not be allowed to travel out of the country following a ban approved by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The ban affects all ministers and heads of other government institutions, as well as their deputies and assistants.

Africa Review reports that the Presidency said officials can only be allowed to travel when it is “of utmost imperative”, and such approval can only be made personally by the president.

“Exceptions will only be granted by the President herself following a one-on-one meeting with the official requesting to travel and if it is determined that such travel is of utmost imperative in the national interest.”

The decision was taken after a review of the economy by the Cabinet and the Economic Management Team set up by the president.

Liberia is going through a serious economic crisis, which the government blames on the Ebola epidemic and the fall in the mining sector.

The country has witnessed a major slump in prices of its major exports of iron ore and rubber, have further complicated the situation.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Liberia has been tasked to look into the “alarming situation” also blamed on illicit outflow of foreign currency.

The bank was ordered to ensure it curbs the illicit flow of foreign currency.

Just last week, some business owners staged a three-day protest over the effect of the situation on their livelihoods to the House of Representatives. The traders were concerned about the government’s apparent inability to address persistent fluctuation of the Liberian dollar against the US currency.

The Liberian government recognises both currencies as its legal tender.

The traders were also unsettled by a new tax by the government which they say the depreciation of the Liberian dollar makes hard to cope with.

President Sirleaf angered the business community when she blamed them for being part of the cause of the currency shortage by sending the money abroad.