By Siham Ali
By Siham Ali
Rabat, May 20, 2012
Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane reiterated Tuesday (May 15th) that his government would not go ahead with direct recruitment of unemployed graduates.
The head of government said it was against the constitution to recruit directly into the civil service and that the private sector should employ the maximum number of citizens. The statement was the latest part of a continuing tussle between the government and unemployed graduates in the kingdom.
Sit-ins and marches have been a frequent occurrence outside Parliament since the original announcement of the move last month. The prime minister has left it up to the government general secretariat to make an official pronouncement on the legal aspects of the measure introduced by his predecessor, Abbas El Fassi.
In a bid to pacify unemployed graduates, El Fassi had signed an agreement with leaders of unemployed young people in April 2011, promising to incorporate them directly into the administration.
Communications Minister and government spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi suggested April 12th that direct integration was not possible from a legal point of view, given that Article 31 of the Constitution clearly states that “the state, public establishments and local authorities shall do everything in their power to facilitate citizens’ equal access to conditions enabling them to exercise their right to access the civil service based on merit”.
Unemployed graduates, who have organised themselves into four groups representing nearly 3,000 young people, held a meeting with Benkirane on April 9th. Following that, they took their case to the National Human Rights Advisory Council. That institution’s general secretary, Mohamed Sebbar, stated the government was under an obligation to honour the previous commitments on the issue.
Authenticity and Modernity Party MP Hakim Benchemmass said the government should grasp the full extent of the commitment. He noted the previous commitment was made by Benkirane’s chief ally in the governing coalition, the Istiqlal party, whose general secretary is none other than the former prime minister.
Among the graduates, there is a clear determination not to make concessions. Mohamed Sekkal, the general co-ordinator of the unemployed graduates’ national joint committee, said that the committees were determined to fight on and demonstrate peacefully in order to have their demands on direct employment met, especially considering their signed commitment from Abbas El Fassi.
The government has come up with a number of mechanisms to promote youth employment, particularly by encouraging job creation within local associations and offering grants to fund training for the long-term unemployed. The government is also pinning its hopes on self-employment, simplifying procedures and improving access to finance.
According to Chafik Rachadi, who chairs the parliamentary group of the National Rally of Independents, his party will soon bring forward a bill to deal with the problem of unemployment. The proposals on the “self-enterprise system” known as “Bidaya” (start) include simplified administrative, fiscal and social measures.
Despite all the declarations made by the government, the unemployed graduate joint committees want only one solution – non-competitive entry into the civil service.
Many young people are afraid of taking work in the private sector or setting up their own business. According to sociologist Samira Kassimi, the time has come to change this mind-set, which has been deeply rooted in the Moroccan psyche for years; a mind-set which says that stability can only be found in the civil service.