The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has issued an amended directive that aims to relieve travellers of the inconveniences associated with travellers’ cheque by increasing the amount of cash they can carry upon entrance and departure.
Signed by NBE’s Governor Teklewold Atnafu, a copy of the directive was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of National Intelligence Service, among others.
According to the document Capital obtained, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is disseminating the amended version of the directive to all diplomatic missions and international organisations in Ethiopia. The Revenue and Customs Authority was instructed to enforce the directive from June 4, 2009.
The new directive amended the eight directions made on March 18, 2008 regarding the inward and outward flow of currency by travellers entering or exiting the country. The new guidance increases the amount of money travellers are allowed to carry upon entry and exit from 1,000 dollars to 3,000. The document, dated June 15, 2009, reads: “It is found necessary to amend the directions as some problems occurred during their execution.”
According to a source at NBE, the directive is believed to mitigate problems that are associated with issuing of travellers cheque that do not allow holders flexible use.
“As cash is liquid, it can be used everywhere. So, it aims at providing more flexibility for travellers,” the source told Capital, adding that the 2,000 dollar increase is a major change.
Accordingly, any traveller who is a non-resident of Ethiopia is obliged to declare any amount of cash exceeding 3,000 dollars or its equivalent in any other convertible foreign currency at the point of entry into the country by filling out a declaration form of the Ethiopian Customs Authority.

In a similar manner, the non-resident traveller is not allowed by the new directive to carry more than 3,000 dollars upon departure from Ethiopia unless he produces evidence obtained within the country that he is entitled to it.
The directive seems relaxed towards residents of Ethiopia. It states that Ethiopian or foreign national residents may carry cash upon departure, but only by producing evidence that foreign currency was purchased from a bank, or by producing a customs declaration not more than 45 days after it was issued. The amount allowed is not stated, however. The same goes for Ethiopian nationals who reside abroad, or are foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin.
Foreign nationals who stayed in Ethiopia on business or for a holiday are allowed more than 3,000 dollars, but only upon certifying purchase of the currency. The same rule goes for transit travellers who stay in Ethiopia for more than 24 hours.
“Employees of embassies and foreign organisations or individuals entering into the country through embassies or foreign organisations on temporary employment or to attend workshops or seminars or to give training may leave the country carrying more than 3,000 dollars in cash only where they produce a bank advice showing that they were paid directly from a bank,” it said adding that a confirmation letter that they were paid by a withdrawal from the embassies or the foreign organisations foreign currency account or safe custody could also be admissible.
Last but not least, the directive states that travellers entering or exiting the country cannot carry more than 200 Ethiopian birr. Before the new directive was issued, it was just 100 birr. “Coupled with the current inflation, it is fair. It will help exit travellers upon their come back for small miscellaneous expenses,” added the NBE source.


Last Updated (Wednesday, 09 February 2011 18:24)