The Italian Embassy in Beirut has stopped accepting its host country’s national currency as a valid payment method.
In exchange for the consular services offered by the Italian Embassy, only US dollars will be accepted starting Thursday, the Embassy said in a statement.
“The Embassy of Italy in Lebanon informs that from Oct. 1, 2020, the rates for consular services and visas will be in US dollars. Lebanese pounds will no longer be accepted,” the statement read.
In addition, those required to make a payment to the Embassy should do so in cash dollars, “possibly in the exact amount.”
Although the statement gave no reasoning for the decision to end the use of the Lebanese pound in its transactions, it’s safe to assume that it manifests in the unprecedented devaluation that the currency has seen over the past year.
While the figures of the official LBP/USD exchange rate have not changed from “1,507” that it has been fixed at for the past couple of decades, the exchange rate on the black market is closer to 9,000 for 1 US dollar today.
The Italian Embassy’s decision also comes at a time when Lebanon’s emigration rates are skyrocketing, with many people escaping the crisis-ridden country that has been speeding downhill for months.
Needless to say, the green currency is not easy to get in Lebanon these days, and it has, over the past year, become a rare and important asset after having been abundant throughout the country for many years.
The Lebanese pound recently saw a sharp drop in its value after the resignation of Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib and has since continued to fluctuate around 8,000 LBP/USD.