King Mohammed VI of Morocco announced Wednesday a package of economic and social measures to revive the economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and expand the social welfare system to include all Moroccans within the next five years.
Addressing on Wednesday evening the Nation on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of his ascension to the throne, the Monarch said that the coronavirus health crisis, even though it has shown that social bonds in Morocco are solid and that solidarity between Moroccans is a fact of life, it has also revealed a number of shortcomings, especially in the social field.
The Monarch, who made of the social-economic development the cornerstone of his state of the nation speech and who warned that the economy would continue to face the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, called for redefining priorities for Morocco.
“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 outlined.
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.
“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, calling on the Government to complete the development of a comprehensive, practical approach that “includes the timetable, legal framework and financing options needed to achieve effective universal social protection.”
Such reforms, he said, will help curb the informal economy and help it integrate Morocco’s economic fabric.
He then announced that 120 billion dirhams ($12.8 billion) will be earmarked to revive the North African Kingdom’s economy.
“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.
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 generalization of social security and reform of social systems and programs that are already in place.
He recommended the gradual deployment of this operation from January 2021, according to a specific program 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 mobilize 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.
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.
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.
“To attain this goal, we must uphold good governance, which is based on constructive social dialogue and on the principles of integrity, transparency and fairness, and see to it that any perversion or exploitation of this lofty social project for political gain is avoided.”