A 60-day ban has been imposed on travel by government officials in Liberia as per a statement released by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s office. The ban comes into place in an effort to alleviate the strain on the country’s foreign currency reserves.
The ban applies to all government officials, including ministers, deputy ministers and assistants. Officials will now need to have a one-on-one meeting with the president, where the need to travel will be assessed and only granted by the president should it be absolutely necessary.
The illegal outflow of foreign currency by government officials has been cited as one of the possible precursors of the situation, and the Central Bank of Liberia has since been mandated to investigate the matter. Small business owners staged a peaceful protest to the House of Representatives that ran over three days in light of the situation, lamenting how this affected them as the Liberian dollar continued to fluctuate.
The ban is the first of it’s kind since the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Concerns around the effective implementation of the moratorium as such drastic measures were put in place during the outbreak, which were widely disobeyed by government officials, some of which having ultimately lead to the dismissal of offenders.
Liberia will hold its national elections in later this year in October. President Johnson Sirleaf has been in office since 2006 and is the 24th president of Liberia, and Africa’s first female head of state.