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U.S. Embassy issues financial alert here

The United Sates Embassy in Monrovia issues an alert, warning travelers coming to Liberia to be aware that it may be difficult to obtain cash from banks in Liberia and should plan accordingly.

The alert published here Monday, 21 December on the U.S. Embassy’s official website notes that Liberia’s banking sector has experienced a growing shortage of cash – both U.S. and Liberian dollars – over the last several months.

It says as a consequence, it is difficult to obtain adequate cash supplies from ATMs and banks, while revealing there are no ATM facilities for public use at the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. citizens traveling to Liberia with amounts of U.S. dollars over $10,000 must be reported upon entry into the country, and travelers may leave with no more than $7,500 U.S. dollars.

Meanwhile, the alert cautions travelers coming here to take the following precautionary actions, including making sure health insurance plan provides coverage overseas, as most care providers overseas only accept cash payments;

bring cash sufficient for the duration of trip to Liberia, secure personal possessions when in public areas; avoid displaying or carrying unnecessary valuables and large sums of money; pay expenses such as hotels and flights by credit or debit card when possible, and check with vendors to ensure credit or debit cards are accepted.

The alert notes there have been reports of financial information being compromised even at hotels where credit cards are routinely accepted.

The alert comes as even ordinary Liberians seeking cash withdrawals at various commercial banks in Monrovia are being seriously restricted, due to severe shortage of banknotes, a situation that is posing strain on business transactions and the economy. Story by Jonathan Browne

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