By Hassan Benmehdi
By Hassan Benmehdi
Casablanca, August 22, 2012
Despite assurances from the government, Moroccan company bosses have proposed a number of measures to kick-start the economy.
Moroccan business leaders are breaking their silence and expressing concern over the impact Europe’s economic crisis could have on the kingdom.
Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, the president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM), has stressed that the economic situation in Morocco has reached a worrying point: “The Moroccan economy is in a difficult situation due to the economic crisis which has hit our European partners,” she told Magharebia on the side-lines of a meeting with journalists on Thursday (August 16th) in Casablanca.
She added that Morocco has not yet seen the benefits of the significant investments that the country has made in certain key sectors.
For the confidence of Moroccan businesses to be restored, they “need, now more than ever, to see more action and flexibility from the authorities”, she said.
In a press statement Wednesday (August 15th), Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane reiterated his team’s commitment to doing what is necessary to boost business competitiveness, create jobs, improve the business environment and restore investor confidence.
That view was shared by Employment Minister Abdelouahed Souhail, who highlighted the need to boost the competitiveness of Moroccan products on the local and global markets.
Against this background, CGEM has just sent the government a list of proposals based on high-priority objectives for the 2013 Finance Act. The first of these three key priorities is the morale of businesses, which need confidence and measures to reassure them if the future is to become brighter. The second relates to making Moroccan products more competitive, and the third relates to the renewal of incentives.
Abdelkader Boukhriss, a member of the CGEM, describes this as a “new deal” based on economic realism, commitment from businesses, a renewal of activity on the part of the authorities and the removal of all economic, regulatory and fiscal barriers which could hinder business activity in Morocco.
Hassan Monaim, a financial analyst, believes that Bensalah-Chaqroun, the first female president of an employers’ association, faces a major challenge because kick-starting the economy will be difficult in the current global conditions: “This is a real test for her career and that of Moroccan women.”
The government and CGEM recently signed a memorandum of understanding intended to lay the foundations for mutual trust and regular consultation over economic affairs, ranging from employment, competitiveness, and vocational training to research and development and other issues.