By Samir Bennis
By Samir Bennis
Morocco World News
New York, August 18, 2011
Morocco has no financial crisis, but financial hardship due to the complex situation caused by the global financial crisis, said on Thursday the Minister of Communication, Spokesman of Government, Khalid Naciri.
At a press conference after a cabinet meeting, Naciri said the Moroccan economy has managed to maintain a high rate of growth despite difficult economic conditions marked by soaring commodity prices and the financial market crisis.
The government will ensure the management of issues facing the national economy due to the difficult global environment, particularly through the Compensation Fund, which absorbs significant funds to preserve the purchasing power of citizens, the minister added.
Because of extra spending, Morocco’s budget deficit in 2011 is forecast at 4.5 percent to 5 percent of gross domestic product, against a 3.5 percent target, reported Reuters today.
Mr. Naciri recalled that the government has managed, during this year, two major problems namely the grant from the Compensation Fund to pay the bill instead of the citizen and social dialogue with all the ensuing financial commitments, which no other government has faced.
Responding to a question about efforts to protect citizens against retailers selling food unfit for consumption, Naciri said the government is determined to stand firm against those who violate health rules .
He added that the Government will strengthen the legal and administrative system in order to deal rigorously with all these behaviors, which he described as criminals.
In an attempt to raise cash to meet the mounting spending due mainly to subsidies allocated by the government to primary food staples and soaring oil prices, Morocco decided in early August to sell 7% of its 30-per cent stake in Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s major telecommunication company.
The burden of food subsidies allocated by the government for 2011 soared to a record 48 billion dirhams ($6 billion).
The decision by the government to sell part of its stakes in one of the most successful companies in the countries earned it much criticism from opposition parties, especially from the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD). The latter decided to summon Finance and Economy Minister Salaheddine Mezouar to parliament for explanations.
On August 12, the Moroccan government announced that it had decided to cancel the transaction. It was the second time in less than a year that Morocco’s government cancels the sell of its stake in Maroc Telecom.
Last Friday, Morocco’s Finance and Economy Minister Salaheddine Mezouar said that the Moroccan economy would grow by between 4.7 and 5.2 percent in 2012 on the assumption that oil prices would stand at $100 per barrel.
Editing by Ahmad Azizi