By Siham Ali
By Siham Ali
Rabat, October 1, 2011
Morocco’s 2012 finance bill was withdrawn recently despite its approval by the cabinet, just a day before it was set to be presented to parliament.
“It was merely a matter of organising the agenda for the extraordinary session, which is too short and is due to end on October 14th,” said Khalid Naciri, communications minister and government spokesman. Moroccan Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi made the decision to withdraw the legislation on Wednesday (September 21st).
Questions about the real reasons for the decision are still circulating despite Naciri’s announcement.
The finance bill must not be presented by the current government for ethical reasons, Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar said on September 22nd.
“It would seem, at present, that opinions differ as to whether the bill should be presented by a government team whose term of office is ending, especially since it will be the new government’s job to take responsibility for it,” Finance Minister Mezouar said.
Spokesman Naciri argued that many people feel the government should go on working right to the end of its term of office. “We are currently working to arrive at a solution agreeable to all,” he said.
As for the opposition, deputy secretary-general of the Party of Justice and Development Lahcen Daoudi has repeatedly noted “the confusion that has engulfed the government” and said that “the whole situation resembles a rather dull theatrical play.”
“The government will only be formed one month after the legislative elections, and local elections are scheduled for March. Morocco cannot remain without a finance act for several months,” he said. His party expressed its intension to call on the prime minister to explain himself before parliament.
Saloua Karkri Belkeziz, an MP who represents the Socialist Union of Popular Forces was among the coalition MPs who said they were ready to discuss the bill between now and the end of their term of office. But some would rather see the bill postponed.
“The 2012 budget should be presented by the next government as the current one can only prepare and examine one law that will not lead to further measures,” Karkri argues.
This view was shared by economist Hmida Bayani. He said that the finance bill could be discussed by the next government, especially since the constitution allows the government to pass decrees in order to provide the necessary funds to keep public services running and carry out its duties if the Finance Act has still not been voted on by the end of the budgetary year.
Many people believe the last minute decision showed that the government was unable to live up to expectations.
“The official explanations are not convincing. Why didn’t the government take this decision before the cabinet adopted the bill and submitted it to parliament? It’s sheer amateurism,” said bank clerk Hamza Slimani.