Rabat - Lamia Boutaleb, the Moroccan Minister Delegate in Charge of Tourism, has denied that the ministry awarded a contract to a member of her own party.
Rabat – Lamia Boutaleb, the Moroccan Minister Delegate in Charge of Tourism, has denied that the ministry awarded a contract to a member of her own party.
According to the French language news website H24info, Boutaleb said on Tuesday that “no contract has been signed with any company,” and that the ministry had simply held discussions with different consulting firms in order to boost the tourism sector.
Overthe weekend, an article by Africa Intelligence reported that the Ministry of Tourism had awarded a contract to review Morocco’s 2020 Vision Plan to Southbridge A&I, a company founded in May by Hassan Belkhayat, a member of the political bureau of the National Rally of Independents (RNI).
As Boutaleb is also a member of the RNI, the news raised questions of conflict of interest.
The newsalso drewattentiondue tothe fact that the 2020 Vision Plan is failing to achieveits goalsto make Morocco among the top 20 tourism destinations in the world.
Awarding a contract of such an importance based on party affiliations would have meant the ministry is more concerned with spreading wealth to its friends thanwithovercoming the challenges facing the Moroccan tourism industry.
RNI, known asa political party which several businessmen such as Boutaleb and Belkhayat join when they want to make a transition to politics, was at the heart of a similar controversy over a year ago.
In January 2016, Saham, an insurance company headed by MoulayHafidElalamy, an RNI member and Minister of Industry and Trade, was awarded a contract by the Ministry of Agriculture to launch an insurance scheme for farmers.