Morocco king announces economic measures, calls for reform

King Mohammed VI announces envelope of 120 billion dirhams ($12.8 billion) to revive the North African Kingdom’s economy that has been hit hard by coronavirus pandemic.
Thursday 30/07/2020
Moroccan King Mohammed VI (C), flanked by Prince Moulay Rachid (R) and Crown Prince Hassan III (L),  delievers a speech on the 21th anniversary of his accession to the throne in the city of Tetouan, July 29. (MAP/AFP)
Moroccan King Mohammed VI (C), flanked by Prince Moulay Rachid (R) and Crown Prince Hassan III (L), delievers a speech on the 21th anniversary of his accession to the throne in the city of Tetouan, July 29. (MAP/AFP)

RABAT – Morocco’s King Mohammed VI announced Wednesday an envelope of 120 billion dirhams ($12.8 billion) to revive the North African Kingdom’s economy which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nearly 120 billion dirhams will be injected into the national economy, or the equivalent of 11% of GDP, a rate which places Morocco among the most daring countries in terms of post-crisis economic recovery policy,” said the monarch during a televised speech to mark the 21st anniversary of ascending the throne.

He called for the efforts of the government and various stakeholders to focus their efforts on redefining the economy to make it stronger and more competitive.

He made the social-economic developments the cornerstone of his throne speech, warning that the economy would continue to face the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

King Mohammed VI called for redefining priorities for Morocco, particularly those dictated by the health crisis facing his country.

“We urge the government and the various actors to focus their attention and action on the challenges and priorities dictated by this new situation,” he said.

The King said that 33.7 billion dirhams ($3.61 billion) have been mobilised from the Solidarity Fund for the coronavirus pandemic.

“The total expenditure so far amounts to 24.6 billion dirhams ($2.62 billion). This sum made it possible to finance social support measures and the purchase of the necessary medical equipment,” he said, adding that 5 billion dirhams will be allocated to the Central Guarantee Fund (CCG), as part of the economic recovery.

The King called for the generalisation of social security and reform of social systems and programmes that are already in place.

He recommended the gradual deployment of this operation from January 2021, according to a specific programme of action.

“This should relate, first of all, to the generalisation of compulsory health insurance (AMO) and family allowances. It will then be extended to other social covers such as retirement and compensation for loss of employment,” he said.

The monarch stressed the need to support small and medium-sized enterprises which represent the foundation of the Moroccan economy.

“We must mobilise all the means available in terms of financing, incentive mechanisms and solidarity measures, in order to support businesses, mainly small and medium-sized enterprises, which constitute the key link of the national economic fabric,” he said.

“It is up to us to seize the opportunity to redefine the order of priorities, to lay the foundations for a strong and competitive economy and to build a more inclusive social model,” he added.

The Moroccan monarch called for setting up an ambitious economic recovery plan which will allow the production sectors to get back on their feet, to increase their capacity to create jobs and preserve sources of income.

He also called for the creation of a Strategic Investment Fund which will be used to fulfil a mission of supporting production activities, backing and financing of large projects of public-private investment in several areas.

He said that the Strategic Investment Fund will have to rely on the coordination and efficient streamlining of contributions by various financing funds to establish a “constructive contractual framework” which will meet the current challenges and fulfil Moroccans’ expectations.

King Mohammed VI called for deep reform of the public sector in order to correct the structural dysfunctions of public service enterprises and enhance their economic and social efficiency.