In ‘real revolution,’ Morocco spreads its social security net

“During the years 2021 and 2022, about 22 million additional people will benefit from compulsory health insurance, which includes the same basket of treatments covered by the National Social Security Fund for private sector employees,” Moroccan Minister of the Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun said.
Friday 16/04/2021
King Mohammed VI chairs caunching ceremony of project to generalise social protection at the Royal Palace of Fez. (MAP)
King Mohammed VI chairs caunching ceremony of project to generalise social protection at the Royal Palace of Fez. (MAP)

RABAT--Morocco launched, on Wednesday, a project to widen its social security net and ease financial pressure on the country’s working class.

King Mohammed VI attended the initial signing ceremony for the project, the Moroccan news agency MAP reported.

Moroccan Minister of the Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun said the programme follows the timeline established by the king in the Throne Day speech of 2020.

“This societal project constitutes a real social revolution as it will have direct and tangible effects on improving the living conditions of citizens,” he said.

He added the project will also preserve the dignity of all Moroccans and protect vulnerable groups, especially in light of the economic fluctuations and health risks that the world has come to know.

In its first phase, the programme will provide new health care benefits for Moroccan artisanal workers such as farmers, craft workers and other independent private employees.

In its second phase of implementation, it will extend coverage to those currently covered by the Single Professional Contribution (CPU) System.

The Moroccan Minister of Finance revealed that the first phase will include about three million merchants, independent service providers, craftsmen, craft workers, farmers and their families.

“Including these groups and their families means that the number of those who will benefit from this [compulsory health] insurance will reach about nine million citizens (in the first phase), representing about 83 percent of the target groups for this measure,” Benchaaboun said, adding, “11 million citizens who are self-employed and their families will benefit from compulsory basic sickness insurance [by the end of] 2021.”

The Minister of Finance pledged to “take all necessary measures to make the poor and vulnerable families currently involved in the medical assistance system (RAMED) benefit from compulsory health insurance, starting from 2022.”

The Medical Assistance System (RAMED) is a health system introduced in 2002 to provide treatment to poor families who are not covered by the compulsory health insurance system.

“During the years 2021 and 2022, about 22 million additional people will benefit from compulsory health insurance, which includes the same basket of treatments covered by the National Social Security Fund for private sector employees,” Benchaaboun said.

Factory workers package disposable protective masks along a production line in Morocco’s Casablanca . AFP
Factory workers package disposable protective masks along a production line in Morocco’s Casablanca . (AFP)

He emphasised the widening of family support during the years 2023 and 2024, by enabling families that do not qualify for  the National Security Fund to benefit on a case by case basis.

He noted the expansion of the base of those involved in the pension system in 2025 to include people who do work and do not benefit from any pension. This, the minister explained, will be achieved by broadening the pension system to take in all concerned groups, including professionals, independent workers and non-wage persons who engage in a private activity.

He added that compensation for job loss will become general in 2025, to include everyone who held a permanent job, by simplifying the qualifications for the benefit.

He explained that managing these programmes with the horizon of 2025 will require allocating an annual sum of 51 billion dirhams ($5.7 billion), of which 23 billion ($2.6 billion) will be funded directly from the state budget.

Benchaaboun pointed out that implementing this unprecedented community project requires amending a set of existing legislative and regulatory texts, preparing new ones and launching a set of structural reforms. These are necessary to address inequalities in targeting groups eligible for support, along with activating a unified social register.

He highlighted that bringing  this community project into being will also require administrative developments and those changes  to the running of social security bodies, with the aim of creating a single organisation to coordinate and supervise social security systems.