Rabat - Marred by sluggishness and the lack of coherence, cooperation, and a strategic vision, the Manarat Al Moutawsit development project in Al Hoceima has fallen short, driving King Mohammed VI to sack a number of ministers and senior officials accountable for the project’s “dysfunctions.”
Rabat – Marred by sluggishness and the lack of coherence, cooperation, and a strategic vision, the Manarat Al Moutawsit development project in Al Hoceima has fallen short, driving King Mohammed VI to sack a number of ministers and senior officials accountable for the project’s “dysfunctions.”
Ill omens had been evident since the program’s preparatory phase, which took place between 2014 and 2015. The number of projects chosen as part of the Manarat Al Moutawsit “did not meet a strategic vision integrated and shared by all stakeholders,” said the Court of Auditors in a report presented to the King on Tuesday.
On October 17, 2015 the Framework Convention of the project was signed in Tetouan, during which the Ministry of the Interior and the Wilaya of the Region presented to the King the general framework of the project. Yet essential documents were missing, such as an exhaustive list of projects to be carried out, their consistency, updated cost estimates, and a budget.
To oversee the project, the convention set a supervision and monitoring committee chaired by the governor of the province of Al Hoceima and a central monitoring commission.
The Court of Auditors ruled that the committee should have been headed by the Minister of the Interior, and not the governor of the province, “especially during the start-up phase to deal with the constraints relating to the consistency of projects, the mobilization of land, financing, and finding the necessary solutions in case of difficulties.
This committee was also unable to mobilize the other partners for “actual contribution and reactivity,” nor was it capable of giving “the necessary momentum to launch the program on a solid foundation.”
Adding to this, the court noted that the estimated schedule of the planned projects and their budgets were not announced until the meeting of the Commission Monitoring Center held in February 2017 – that is, 16 months after the signing of the convention.
Procrastination and Petty Excuses
The implementation of the program has suffered a slow start, asserts the court.
From the signing of the Framework Convention until February 2017, the Court of Auditors noted that most stakeholders at both central and locals levels had significant delays in carrying out their duties.
By the end of 2016, there were only five fully implemented projects, at a budget of MAD 146.8 million, and 45 ongoing projects at MAD 565 million, out of a total 644 projects planned.
Stakeholders justified the delay by citing an alleged “non-compliance programming of budgetary appropriations and difficulties in mobilizing land,” which the Court found to be “baseless.”
Further, at the end of September 2017, 12 agreements were signed by different stakeholders with the Agency for the Promotion and Development of the North (APDN), which took over responsibility for management of a large number of the projects.
The Court of Auditors considered that the decision to entrust the agency with the implementation of a significant number of projects, for a total amount of almost MAD 3 billion representing more than 46 percent of the overall budget, engendered risks in terms of monitoring, costs, and deadlines.
The court noted the suspicious “eagerness” in the Ministries of Culture, the Environment, Health, Youth, and Sports, and others, to hand over their assigned projects to the APDN.
“This eagerness implies that these departments want to do away with their commitments at the expense of the Agency, even though they have the required capacities and expertise to achieve similar projects by themselves, as they typically do throughout the national territory.”
Upon receiving the report from the first president of the Court of Auditors, Driss Jettou, King Mohammed VI responded to the “serious dysfunctions” in the projects by sacking a significant number of ministers and high officials.
The King said that he was “disappointed in their performance at their respective ministries and [he] would never again entrust them with any public missions.”