Rabat - In one of his first public speeches since taking office in August, Morocco’s new finance minister has emphasized the need to invest more in small businesses.
Rabat – In one of his first public speeches since taking office in August, Morocco’s new finance minister has emphasized the need to invest more in small businesses.
Speaking on Saturday at the first Casablanca Summer University organized by Morocco’s business leaders conglomerate (CGEM) under the title “A Strong Enterprise, A Winning Morocco,” Mohamed Benchaaboun said that attaining Morocco’s medium and long-term goals requires a more robust funding of small businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and start-ups.
According to Benchaaboun, helping to build a strong and vibrant environment for small businesses is one of the surest ways to propel Morocco on the growth and sustainable development path. He also said he would champion a “small business act” to decrease, alleviate, and ultimately end the numerous administrative hurdles entrepreneurs face when searching for financial support.
In a bid to decentralize financing-linked activities, Benchaaboun reminded attendees at the Casablanca Summer University that it is important that the government some financing duties to the private sector, namely Moroccan investors and “external partners” with the means to inject more money to boost the country’s halting enterprise sector.
Adding, however, that simple delegation of responsibilities will not be enough to put Morocco on track towards sustainable growth, the minister recommended building rapport with investors by providing incentives and removing current bureaucratic obstacles.
“We need to increase the pace of [Morocco’s economic] growth. That is our priority at the moment,” the minister declared.
He added, in a prelude to his department’s annual report to be presented in early 2019, that his tenure in the finance and economy ministry will focus on boosting Morocco’s investor confidence. Benchaaboun hopes to further improve Morocco’s investment-friendly atmosphere by building a dynamic enterprise sector.
“Ninety percent of small businesses are underfunded,” the minister said. He added that his ministry is trying to work out a “mechanism” to optimize funds allocated to small businesses.
Another concern is the continued plight of start-ups. Morocco’s micro-financing support policy gives no more than MAD 50,000 to startups. The policy puts Moroccan startups in a “no man’s land where neither the state nor private investors can fund them.”
Benchaaboun concluded that the funding threshold should be raised so that nascent small businesses, which often require more than MAD 50,000, can receive funding from micro-finance agencies.