By Jamal Saidi
By Jamal Saidi
Morocco World News
Casablanca, June 20, 2012
More than 30 percent of the money owned by rich families in Morocco is being held overseas, especially in Swiss and British banks. Morocco is the second only after Tunisia, in North Africa, according to Boston Consultant Group (BCG), as reported by Alarabiya.net.
The study, which was conducted by BCG, an American global management consulting firm, on the global financial wealth during the year 2012 confirms that Morocco ranks high among Arab countries in terms of moving assets to European banks. The findings were based on data related to global the wealth management industry, the current size of the financial market, the size of wealth and assets held abroad and the performance of the leading institutions.
In his reaction to the report, Abdelkhalek Thami, a professor at the National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics, told Alarabiya.net that many wealthy citizens tend to move cash deposits to European banks due to their apprehensive perception of the future; they opened bank accounts abroad 15 or 20 years ago. The other reason, he added, is the regulations and constrains that are imposed on transfer of money outside the country. Owning a bank account would facilitate their activities in the West either for be studies, treatment or tourism.
The professor pointed out that “the smuggling” of money results in losing national savings and deprives the country of benefiting from the wealth of its citizens to set up investment projects that serve the interest of the population.
According to Fouad Beriah, a financial analyst, during four decades, Morocco lost billions of dollars per year as a result of smuggling money abroad. The statistics, he continued, show that the country has lost $41 billion in a period of 38 years, from 1970 to 2008.
Last February, the Global Finance Integrity, or GFI, an American NGO based in Washington pointed out that approximately 328 billion dirhams of Moroccan public funds had been transferred illegally to foreign countries between 1970 and 2008, the equivalent of $41 billion.
The smugglers would create fake companies abroad through which they can transfer cash worldwide. They also benefited from the fact that Morocco has relaxed in order to encourage exports. The Moroccan weekly magazine reported in April 2010 that since 2007, Moroccan exporters are no longer required to refer to the office of exchange since they can now use their own export titles. 95 percent of the payment in foreign currency was made via local banks rather than the office of exchange. Besides, exporting companies have now the right to open bank accounts abroad in order to “centralize” their bills abroad via “pivot” accounts. Likewise, insurance companies are allowed to place investments abroad in deference to an established threshold.
According to a previous report released by Global Financial Integrity, the smuggled money by the rich, in a bid to evade taxes, was sufficient to pay the debt of the country or build hundreds of schools and hospitals. The report accused the western countries of creating non -transparent financial system that defends anonymous bank accounts and overlooks the presence of fake companies.
Edited by April Warren