Rabat - Here follows the full text of the message sent by King Mohammed to participants in the "general conference on the state's real estate policy and its role in economic and social development" that opened on Tuesday December 8, 2015, in the Atlantic resort town of Skhirate (south of Rabat).
Rabat – Here follows the full text of the message sent by King Mohammed to participants in the “general conference on the state’s real estate policy and its role in economic and social development” that opened on Tuesday December 8, 2015, in the Atlantic resort town of Skhirate (south of Rabat).
Praise be to God
May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to send this message to the participants in this important national conference on the “State land policy and its role in economic and social development.” This conference is being held under my patronage, given that this sector is of paramount importance in our country’s dynamic, comprehensive development process.
I hope this meeting will give stakeholders the opportunity to examine, together, the current situation in this vital sector, to identify the main impediments to the accomplishment of its mission and to consider guidelines for the development of an effective, integrated national land policy.
In this regard, I invite you to build on the virtues of dialogue and collective thinking and to adopt the participatory approach we have been using – as an irreversible policy – to address the nation’s major issues.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you know, land is a strategic factor of production as well as a lever for the achievement of multi-dimensional sustainable development. Access to land is, therefore, the main catalyst for productive investment, which generates incomes, creates job opportunities and makes it possible to implement projects in various fields: industry, agriculture, tourism, the service sector, etc.
Moreover, it is a necessary engine for the development of the national economy because it provides the basic platform for infrastructure and public facility development. The country’s public policy in the areas of urban planning and local development is also directly related to the land policy. The latter is also a fundamental mechanism through which the citizens can fulfil their right to housing.
Given the cross-cutting nature of the land sector, all stakeholders are concerned by the constraints and challenges impacting this field. For this reason, a comprehensive approach should be used to tackle those constraints and challenges, keeping in mind the legal, institutional, organizational and procedural dimensions. The sector’s specificities and its complex, interrelated nature – which are the result of a number of historical, social and economic factors – should also be considered.
The legal aspect is one of the main challenges that have to be addressed to upgrade the land sector because of the diversity of the systems involved and the obsolete nature of certain legal texts, not to mention the diversity of the institutional actors in charge of managing this sector.
I therefore call for a review of the legal texts governing the sector – the public as well as the private aspects. The aim is to protect and promote land assets, through improved governance and simpler organizational procedures to make sure land use contributes to consolidating the dynamism of the country’s social and economic development.
Special attention should also be given to revamping this sector and to the adoption of appropriate mechanisms to streamline the work of the actors concerned so as to ensure efficiency at national and local levels regarding the planning of the national land policy as well as follow-up and evaluation.
As far as land tenure security and increasing the economic and credit value of land assets are concerned, more efforts should be made to speed up the process of land registration and ultimately extend it to all parts of the country in order to enhance the economic and financial value of assets. The digital technology available today should also be harnessed to ensure better control of the land base, of its stability and of land transactions.
Given the importance of human resources – a question in which I take a keen interest – we have to press ahead with efforts to improve the basic and in-service vocational training of the staff in charge of running the land sector, particularly in the area of specialized training and the use of the latest developments witnessed at national and international levels.
In the same vein, I call for a reform of the communal land ownership (Sulaliyat) system. I am glad to see that a national dialogue on the subject has started and I hope the results and conclusions of this dialogue will be leveraged to rehabilitate communal land, so it may contribute to the development process and serve as a means whereby right holders can be involved in the nation’s dynamic process, in keeping with the principles of social justice and fairness, regardless of any outdated considerations.
I also call for joint efforts to ensure the success of the titling process of communal land for the benefit of right holders within irrigated perimeters and free of charge.
I further urge the government authorities concerned to speed up procedures for the settlement of the legal status of communal land to make sure it can be effectively integrated into the country’s social and economic development process.
To fulfil the aspirations expressed by Sulaliyate groups and the various social and economic actors during the national dialogue on communal land held in 2014, it is necessary to reconsider the related legal and institutional framework and to simplify procedures for the optimal management of this land.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Needless to say, land plays a key role in town and urban planning. Land development and town planning mechanisms and documents should serve the interests of the citizens. To this end, appropriate and balanced urban space management is required. It should be based on social justice and should not become an instrument for speculation, which is inconsistent with the citizens’ interests.
Town planning should also be an instrument for the achievement of justice in land-related issues, as the burden and public utility easements should be shared equally between landowners, making sure there is equitable distribution of proceeds from town planning applications.
In this regard, I would like to stress the need to speed up the adoption of the new town planning code – a process I launched earlier – in order to introduce flexibility in drafting and implementing planning documents, and to use it to mobilize land and fight speculation.
As regards land for housing – an issue which is of particular interest to me – I insist on the necessity to develop an operational and procedural mechanism to control the land market and combat speculation and its impact on prices. The aim is also to come up with innovative solutions to finance land acquisition for housing purposes and promote transparency in mobilizing land in order to facilitate the citizens’ access to decent housing.
I also urge the government to continue the reform of land management systems governing investment in agriculture to make sure land development plays a key role in promoting agriculture and serves as a lever for rural development, which is one of our priorities.
I should like to emphasize the importance of developing state-owned agricultural land properly and making the most of it. Thanks to a partnership between the State and the private sector, we were able to achieve very interesting socio-economic outcomes that contributed to the development of the agricultural sector. At local level, these accomplishments helped create added value, in addition to generating significant wealth and many job opportunities.
Since the promotion of investment depends on the availability of land on which development and investment projects actually materialize, the focus should be on facilitating investor access to land and simplifying regulations on land transfer and other land-related transactions. Efforts should also be made to increase the value of public property and ensure access to it in accordance with the requirements of transparency and equal opportunity, using a fair, efficient land management system conducive to promoting investment. Such a system should also balance the rights of landowners and State interests, seeing to it that land development makes an effective contribution to the dynamism of the economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To make sure the state’s land policy is effective and efficient, a holistic, clearly defined national strategy needs to be developed. It should comprise action plans that address all aspects relating to the formulation and implementation of this policy, in addition to the legislative, regulatory, procedural and other measures that need to be defined. To this end, central government authorities should work with local institutions and stakeholders, which are key players in the promotion of local development.
Given that evaluation, which is one of the key elements of good governance, must be an integral part of public management mechanisms, the actual implementation of any successful land policy hinges on the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the decisions made by the State in managing land-related issues. The aim is to measure their impact on various economic, social and environmental fields and thus be able to redress deficiencies and enhance efficiency and effectiveness.
I am convinced the ideas and proposals you will come up with in this meeting will contribute to laying down a road map to develop and implement an integrated national land policy that can help us overcome constraints in this field and respond to growing requirements for the achievement of the country’s economic and social development. This should help us fulfil our aspirations in terms of consolidating the foundations for the emergence of a balanced, solidarity-based society, from the social and territorial perspectives.
May the Almighty grant you every success.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.