Rabat - Scores of demonstrators gathered outside the Parliament Building in Rabat on Sunday to protest proposed reforms to the pension system.
Rabat – Scores of demonstrators gathered outside the Parliament Building in Rabat on Sunday to protest proposed reforms to the pension system.
Ratified by the Finance Committee and Planning Council of Advisors on June 27, Draft Laws 71.14, 72.14, and 96.15 would update the preexisting pension system established in 1971 and gradually increase the retirement age from 60 to 63 over the next eight years. The House of Representatives is expected to begin discussing the laws on Tuesday.
The Moroccan pension system is composed of three principal categories: pensions for civil servants, pensions for employees of state-owned companies, and pensions for private sector employees. A smaller percentage of Moroccans contribute to pension funds than benefit from them, leading to an unsustainable system.
The Carnegie Endowment for Peace estimates that no more than 45 percent of the working-age populace is employed; furthermore, many Moroccans are self-employed or work informal jobs that are not connected to the pension system. Especially since unemployment rates are higher among youth, there are not enough workers contributing funds to sustain the current system.
According to an Oxford Business Group report, the pension fund for civil servants will become bankrupt by 2021under the current system, while the funds for employees of state-owned and private companies will run out by 2042.
The government has attempted to address the underlying sustainability problems facing the pension system by including more contributing workers, especially youths. In addition, leaders have attempted to reform the legal framework for years to avoid running an unsustainable deficit.
In 2013, Head of Government Abdelilah Benkiran told Parliament: “Our pension systems are at stake. No one wants to reach a situation like in Greece…Of course we will negotiate with unions, but raising the retirement age is an obligation to avoid collapse.”
However, the government’s policies ensuring the long-term economic viability of the pension system have sparked opposition and social unrest. Unions and workers across the nation have strongly opposed the government’s efforts throughout the process. In 2014, three of Morocco’s largest trade unions held a 24-hour strike in protest of the raising the retirement age. On Sunday,organizers in Rabat told Alyaoum 24 that the event was the first of a nationally-coordinated series of protests opposing the latest reforms.