Rabat - In the latest episode of the ongoing drama between the Justice and Development Party (PJD) and the Bank Al Maghrib (BAM), the PJD is accusing Abdellatif Jouahri, head of BAM, of “not intervening soon enough” to stop the foreign currency from hemorrhaging during the last couple of months.
Rabat – In the latest episode of the ongoing drama between the Justice and Development Party (PJD) and the Bank Al Maghrib (BAM), the PJD is accusing Abdellatif Jouahri, head of BAM, of “not intervening soon enough” to stop the foreign currency from hemorrhaging during the last couple of months.
In a statement on the PJD’s official website, Abdellatif Brouhou, a PJD deputy and economist, scolds Jouahri for “not taking any measures to protect the national economy.”
Amid recent speculations of a possible currency devaluation following the botched announcement of the dirham liberalization reform, commercial banks had rushed on currency stocks, draining about MAD 44 billion worth of foreign reserves in a matter of one month.
Jouahri was furious to witness such unfounded speculation from the banks. The BAM governor expressed his dismay in a firm tone, promising over and over again that there will be “no risk of devaluation.”
It seems to be now PJD’s turn to, once again, poke at Jouahri’s temperament. In a virulent attack against the BAM governor, Brouhou believes that “the central bank, represented by its governor, committed two fatal mistakes that led to a real hemorrhage of the foreign exchange reserves.”
For the economist, the first “lethal” fault was “the trial and error that has marked the statements of the BAM’s governor since November 2016 regarding the timing of the reform of the exchange rate regime.”
The second mistake: “the absence of monetary measures before the announcement of the liberalization of the national currency.”
Brouhou explains that “in light of the confusion in announcing the date of this procedure, economic actors and banks have initiated the establishment of an unlawful parallel reserve.”
“Bank Al-Maghrib is responsible for managing this file in all its aspects and for monitoring the monetary operations,” he adds.
The PJD deputy concluded by scolding the BAM for knowing beforehand that “the process of absorbing foreign currency drains the national reserve and [would pose] a direct threat to the Moroccan economy.”
Morocco World News contacted Brouhou to get more details regarding his statements, but the PJD deputy was unreachable.
This is not the first time Jouahri has come into the crosshairs of the PJD. On March 2016, the governing party deemed BAM’s growth indicators to be “contradictory and sloppy.” At the time, the governor said that 2016’s economic growth rate will not exceed 1 percent, the lowest rate in many years. Knowing that 2016 is an election year, the PJD found that such forecasts complicated their task during the election campaign which promised in 2011 an annual growth rate of 7 percent.
On September of the same year, some PJD figures were circulating the rumor that Jouahri was knowingly hindering the accreditation file of Islamic banks. Irritated by the claims, Jouahri lashed out at his opponents: “You think you are the only Muslims in this country, or that you are more Muslim than Moroccans?”
All in all, this new episode is far from being the first, nor likely the last, in the PJD and BAM chronicles.