By Hassan al-Ashraf
By Hassan al-Ashraf
Rabat, June 6, 2012
The wide gap between the salaries of Moroccan ministers, the highest in North Africa, and the income of average citizens has caused a heated debate in the country and raised questions about pledges of reform and social justice.
Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane gets a monthly salary of 80,000 Moroccan dirhams ($9,074) while Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia gets 6,000 Euros ($7,508) and Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali 2,500 Euros ($3,158), the French weekly newsmagazine Jeune Afrique reported.
Benkirane’s salary, the magazine added, is even higher than that of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who gets 6,300 Euros per month ($7,883).
These figures mean that a minister in Morocco gets 40 times the salary of an average employee. This number increases with certain echelons inMoroccan society like laborers, domestic help, and garbage collectors who get less than the minimum wage.
The gap between wages in Morocco can even be as high as 100 times in some cases, said Mohamed al-Miskawi, head of the Instance Nationale de Défense des Biens Publics (The National Authority for the Defense of Public Funds).
“This is not the case in other countries. In France, for example, this gap does not exceed 10 times,” he told Al Arabiya.
Miskwai added that the problem with wage gap in Morocco is not only confined to ministers, but also chairpersons of government institutions and national companies.
“Some of those get salaries higher than that of the American president himself.”
Miskawi noted that the salaries of around 5,000 Moroccan officials constitute one third of the total salaries in the entire country.
“If you add to their salaries other allowances and bonuses they get, you will see how disastrous the situation is.”
Solving this problem, Miskawi pointed out, will only be through a revision of all salaries followed by setting fixed regulations that determine the payment hierarchy.
“The highest salary in the country should be that of the Prime Minister and salaries of other officials should start gradually from right under that.”
This, he argued, will lead to a reduction in the astronomical salaries top officials get and the money can be redistributed in a fairer manner.
“It is also important to determine the rules that make a given person get a specific salary. These should mainly revolve around professionalism, efficiency, and transparency,” he concluded.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)