Rabat – King Mohammed VI delivered, on Sunday, a speech to the Nation on the nineteenth anniversary of the Sovereign’s accession to the throne.
“Praise be to God,
May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
At all times and in all circumstances, Almighty God has blessed Morocco with unity and cohesion throughout its long history.
The commemoration of Throne Day, which today marks the nineteenth anniversary of my accession to the throne, is testament to the allegiance binding me to you, and to the mutual covenant between us to remain forever faithful to Morocco’s sacred, immutable values and to make whatever sacrifices are needed for its unity and stability.
This covenant between the kings and the citizens of this nation was, and still is, similar to an impregnable fortress protecting Morocco against the schemes of enemies and against various threats.
It has also enabled us to overcome difficulties and to make a great many achievements in a climate of unity, security and stability – achievements we are proud of.
Morocco is our motherland; it is our common home. We must all safeguard it, protect it and contribute to its development and progress.
True patriotism enhances unity and solidarity, especially in testing circumstances.
Moroccan patriots are not affected by the vicissitudes of life, however harsh they may sometimes be. These hardships enhance their faith and increase their resolve to tackle difficulties and rise to challenges.
I am confident that Moroccans will not allow the advocates of chaos and nihilism or the peddlers of misconceptions to exploit certain deficiencies in order to encroach upon Morocco’s security and stability and belittle its gains and achievements.
They realize that when chaos and subversion spread in the land, the biggest losers are the homeland and the citizens.
We shall continue to move forward together and work hand in hand to overcome transient as well as objective hurdles and bring about conditions that allow us to continue implementing development programs and projects, create jobs and provide for a dignified life.
Achieving goals, redressing imbalances and tackling economic and social problems require collective action, planning and coordination between different institutions and actors, especially between the members of the government and between the political parties forming the government.
It is also necessary to rise above temporary differences, seek to improve the performance of public administration and ensure the proper management of institutions in order to enhance trust and promote serenity within the community and among all its components.
Citizens’ affairs cannot be put on hold for they do not relate to a specific period of time. Responsible political bodies are those that stand by the citizen, in good times and bad.
Political parties do, in fact, make efforts to carry out their mission.
However, they should attract new elites and mobilize young people to engage in political life, for today’s youths are the ones who know what the current problems and requirements are.
Political parties should also find the ways and means to revitalize their work methods.
Political parties and institutions are expected to respond on a permanent basis to the citizens’ demands and to react immediately to events and developments occurring in society, even anticipate them, instead of letting situations deteriorate, as if they are not concerned by what is happening.
I attach special importance to and take a keen interest in social affairs – both as a King and as a person.
Ever since I ascended the throne, I have kept my finger on the nation’s pulse and paid heed to the citizens’ legitimate wishes. I have always worked to improve their living conditions and constantly nurtured the hope of achieving that goal.
We can be satisfied with and take pride in what Morocco has achieved and what Moroccans have accomplished over the last two decades. Yet, I cannot but feel that something has been missing in the social domain.
God willing, we shall continue to work actively and resolutely in this field, and seek to identify and address weaknesses together.
The scope of the social deficit and the means for achieving social and inter-regional justice are among the main reasons which led me, in my address at the State Opening of Parliament, to call for an overhaul of the national development model.
Indeed, it does not make much sense to have more than a hundred social welfare programs of varying sizes spread out between several ministries and public agencies, with billions of dirhams earmarked for them.
Moreover, these programs overlap, lack proper coordination and do not target the populations that actually deserve help.
Given the current situation, how can these programs respond effectively to citizens’ needs? How can the people concerned feel their impact?
Needless to say, I am not criticizing just for the sake of it. In fact, I consider self-criticism to be a virtue and a healthy phenomenon, so long as words are coupled with deeds and with reform.
In this regard, I view the new initiative to set up a “consolidated social register” as a promising start for the gradual improvement of social welfare programs over the short and medium terms.
This is a national registration system to identify families that truly deserve to benefit from social assistance programs. To this end, precise and objective standards will be set and modern technology will be used.
It is a strategic and ambitious social project which concerns large segments of the Moroccan population. It is much too important to be perceived as a mere one-term government program, or as a reflection of the vision of a given ministry, party or political actor.
My ambition to improve social conditions in the country is much greater than simply establishing a mechanism or setting out a program, however important that may be.
For this reason, I call on the Government and all the stakeholders concerned to undertake an in-depth, thorough restructuring of national social welfare programs and policies and to submit proposals for their evaluation.
This task requires a participatory approach, far-sightedness, perseverance as well as diligent implementation. We need to build on achievements and put successful experiences to good use.
Until this reform effectively bears fruit, I recommend the adoption of a set of provisional social measures which are in tune with the above-mentioned restructuring effort.
I call upon the government to do this as soon as possible and to inform me regularly on the progress made.
To make sure impacts are tangible and felt directly, I strongly recommend laying emphasis on urgent initiatives in the following areas:
• Firstly, we need to give strong impetus to school enrolment programs and combat school drop-out as of the next school year. These include the Tayssir program on school enrolment support, early childhood education, school transportation, school canteens and boarding schools.
The above measures are designed to ease the burden on families and to provide them with support to make sure their children continue to attend school and training programs.
• Secondly, we need to launch the third phase of the National Initiative for Human Development by building on achievements, refocusing programs to promote human resource development and serve the coming generations, supporting groups in difficult situations and starting a new generation of income-generating activities that create jobs.
• Thirdly, we need to tackle the inconsistencies affecting the implementation of the ‘RAMED’ health coverage program and undertake, concurrently, a thorough review of the national health system, which is characterized by blatant disparities and poor management.
• Fourthly, we need to speed up a successful outcome of the social dialogue. In this regard, I call upon the social stakeholders concerned to keep in mind the nation’s best interests, show a keen sense of responsibility and seek consensus in order to develop a balanced, long-lasting social charter that guarantees the competitiveness of businesses while increasing the purchasing power of the working class in both the public and the private sectors.
Let me remind the government, here, that social dialogue is necessary and that it should be an ongoing process. The government should meet with trade unions and talk regularly with them, regardless of the potential outcome of that dialogue.
In this regard, I have always believed that the best social protection comes from the creation of productive jobs that guarantee a dignified life.
In truth, jobs cannot be created, nor can a proper, modern social system be set up without a qualitative leap in investment, and without support for the nation’s productive sector.
With that in mind, it is necessary to ensure the successful implementation of three basic projects in particular:
• Firstly, we need to adopt the administrative devolution charter by the end of October at the latest. This should enable local officials to make decisions and implement economic and social development programs in a manner that is fully consistent with the advanced regionalization agenda;
• Secondly, we need to speed up the adoption of the new investment charter; implement the reform of regional investment centers; give the latter the powers they need to carry out their mission, including the possibility for the majority of attending members to make decisions, instead of applying the current rule of unanimous decision-making; group all investment commissions into a single regional investment commission in order to put an end to obstacles and to the excuses made by certain ministries.
• Thirdly, we need to adopt legislation stipulating:
– on the one hand, a maximum one-month period within which a number of government agencies would have to respond to investment-related requests, stressing that if no answer is given within the time prescribed, it will be taken to mean that the government agency concerned has given its approval;
– And, on the other hand, that no government agency shall require documents or information available at another government institution. Government agencies will coordinate and exchange information, using modern computer-based technology to this end.
I hope these crucial measures will provide a strong, unprecedented incentive to boost investment, create job opportunities, improve the quality of services offered to citizens and reduce foot-dragging which, as all Moroccans know, leads to corruption.
These measures will also serve as a catalyst for the reform of the civil service, making it possible to hold officials to account and to identify the hurdles impeding the reform.
These measures should be given concrete substance in investment-related fields, as a prelude to applying them to all sectors in which the citizen interacts with public service authorities.
Whatever the quality of legislation, however, efficiency will hinge on the commitment and integrity of each civil servant and on the proper implementation of texts.
I also wish to emphasize the need to update support programs for businesses, including ones to facilitate access to finance, increase productivity and ensure human resource training.
Our goal is to make sure Moroccan businesses – particularly small and medium-sized enterprises – are competitive and capable of exporting goods and services as well as creating jobs. Indeed, SMEs require special attention since they constitute 95 per cent of our economic fabric.
Today, the State and society need to place more trust in productive businesses so that we may once again reach the desired investment levels and move from a negative wait-and-see attitude to an innovative, entrepreneurial frame of mind.
Economic revitalization continues to depend on the extent of businesses’ involvement in development, on the revamping of the corporate culture and on the proper use of Morocco’s numerous assets, keeping in mind the international competitive landscape, even the occasional trade war.
My keenness to improve social conditions and tackle economic challenges is second only to my determination to preserve and develop our country’s strategic resources, particularly water. Indeed, the latter plays a fundamental role in development and stability.
Almighty God says: “We made from water every living thing.”
The national water plan should address the various issues relating to water resources for the next 30 years.
Moreover, the government, along with the institutions concerned, are called upon to take urgent measures and muster all the means required to deal with emergencies that arise from a lack of access to drinking water and to water for irrigation and livestock, especially during the summer.
To this end, I have always stressed the need to maintain the policy of building dams – a sector in which Morocco is a pioneer.
Because I have keenly sought to continue with that policy, we have managed to build thirty dams of various sizes in the country during the last 18 years.
Morocco – its past, present and future – is a sacred trust which we must all seek to preserve.
We have accomplished so much together, in various fields.
In fact, we cannot rise to challenges and fulfil our aspirations unless we are united and committed to solidarity and stability, have faith in our common destiny – in good times and bad – and embrace the spirit of genuine patriotism and responsible citizenship.
Given the developments currently taking place in our country, we do need to remain committed to our longstanding religious and national values. We should remember the sacrifices made by our forefathers so that Morocco could remain a united, sovereign and dignified nation.
I cannot, in this regard, but honor, with deep reverence, the memory of Morocco’s valiant martyrs, particularly my venerable grandfather, His Majesty King Mohammed V, and my revered father, His Majesty King Hassan II. May they rest in peace.
I also wish to commend the Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie, the Auxiliary Forces, the National Security Forces and the Emergency Services on being constantly mobilized, under my leadership, to defend the nation’s unity and safeguard its security and stability.
I also want to praise the humanitarian and social work carried out by the Royal Armed Forces, at home and abroad, especially at the field hospital in Gaza to alleviate the suffering of our Palestinian brothers and support their steadfastness, and at the al-Za’tari camp as well. This is on top of humanitarian and medical assignments carried out by our Royal Armed Forces in many African sister nations.
I shall continue, as always, to be the nation’s first servant, who is keen to listen to your concerns and respond to your requests – one who is entrusted with upholding your rights and preserving your sacred values.
Almighty God says: “And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out, and He provides for them from (sources) they never could imagine”. True is the Word of God.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.”