Following Thursday’s weekly cabinet meeting in Rabat, Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi refused to give details behind the decision of King Mohammed VI to sack Mohamed Boussaid.
He told the press that he had “nothing to add to the royal statement.”
King Mohammed VI’s royal cabinet issued a statement on Wednesday announcing the monarch’s decision to dismiss the minister.
El Khalfi said that Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani had signed a decree to appoint an acting economy minister, but he did not name the official. Speculations have abounded that Abdelkader Amara, who is already holding the position of minister of transport, will replace Boussaid.
Since the dismissal, thousands of Moroccans have been asking why Boussaid was dismissed.
Some have linked the King’s decision to Boussaid’s remarks on a major boycott against three prominent companies and high prices, as the sacked minister described people supporting the boycott as “morons.”
Other theories have also been circulating. Several Moroccan news outlets and newspapers dedicated their headlines to the royal decision.
Akhbar Al Yaoum reported that the royal decision instilled fear among El Othmani’s cabinet, who are now waiting for more potential announcements.
According to the newspaper, the dismissal was expected as King Mohammed VI summoned his ministers for a meeting on Sunday in Al Hoceima before his customary Throne Day speech.
An unidentified source quoted in Akhbar Al Yaoum said that Boussaid’s absence from the Throne Day ceremony in Tangier was notable.
According to another source cited by the same newspaper, Boussaid was actually in the Tangier royal palace during the ceremony, but he was having a meeting. The source added that Boussaid might have been informed of his dismissal at the Monday ceremony in Tangier.
Observers, according to the newspaper, analyzed the King’s decision as a “follow-up” to the 2017 political earthquake when the King fired four ministers for irregularities in development projects in Al Hoceima called Manarat Al Mutawassit.
However, Boussaid’s dismissal can also be referred to the recent reports issued by both Bank Al Maghrib, Morocco’s central bank, and the Court of Auditors.
On the eve of Throne Day, on July 29, the head of Bank al Maghrib, Abdellatif Jouahri, and the president of Morocco’s Court of Auditors, Driss Jettou, presented the King with their 2017 annual reports on Morocco’s financial situation in 2017.
Both reports showed that social disparities are still an issue that hampers Morocco’s development.
Moroccan newspaper Al Massae backed Akhbar Al Yaoum’s arguments. The newspaper claimed that the King’s decision came after his evaluation of the country’s development programs, which have failed to meet social demands.
Ministry of Economy is the core of the cabinet
According to the newspaper’s sources, the Ministry of Economy and Finance is the core of the cabinet as it is the body specializing in funding projects estimated at billions of dirhams.
In his 2017 report, Jouahri denounced the unemployment rate and the increase of internal debt by 4.8 percent, while external debt increased by 7.2 percent.
Business expert Rachid Ourzar told Akhbar Al Yaoum that the Ministry of Economy is the most important department in every government. “Whoever manages the ministry monitors the whole government, and of course affects public policies,” he added.
According to Akhbar Al Yaoum, Morocco’s Ministry of Economy, led by Boussaid since 2013, minimized development programs, investment, and small enterprises.
The newspaper added that Boussaid had also failed to attract foreign investment.
Despite many multinational companies operating in Morocco, foreign direct investments (FDI) declined by 33.1 percent in the first six months of 2018 against a rise of 24 percent in 2017.
Morocco’s development model has also not improved, despite the King’s multiple calls in his recent speeches. On the eve of Throne Day, the King made it clear to the government that he is not satisfied with either the delay of development projects or the current development model, which has failed to answer the demands of citizens.
The speech caused the head of government to reiterate his calls for his ministers to increase their efforts to implement projects.
The government has also launched an investigation into the delayed projects, promising to recover “lost funds.”
El Othmani said that the cabinet will appoint a staff of auditors to investigate a number of projects in the coming weeks to learn why they have been delayed and ensure that the money allocated was not used for other purposes, Assabah reported today.
The government made similar promises in the aftermath of the 2017 political earthquake. Moroccans are waiting to see whether the cabinet will roll up its sleeves and implement the long-awaited programs to curb social disparities.