Morocco’s House of Representatives will take a final vote on the 2019 Finance Bill on Friday, November 16.
Rabat – The lower house of Parliament, chaired by Habib El Malki, will devote its plenary meeting to a final vote on the 2019 Finance Bill, Law 18.80, which was made public in October.
The government has allocated an MAD 443 billion budget for next year and aims to achieve a growth rate of 3.2 percent in GDP.
The government took 15 days to announce the date for a final vote, delayed by several debates on the bill’s provisions. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives discussed the first part of the Finance bill. Parliamentary committees also discussed sectoral budgets for each ministry.
On Thursday, the House of Councillors will hold two plenary meetings to discuss the second part of the Finance Bill.
On Sunday night, the finance committee at the House of Representatives adopted the first part of the Finance Bill by majority. Twenty-four MPs voted for it and 13 voted against.
On Monday, November 12, the ministry delegate in charge of relations with the Parliament issued a statement to announce amendments to the draft finance bill.
On Sunday, November 11, the finance committee had adopted 56 amendments and withdrew 72 of 224 total amendments.
The adopted amendments included raising domestic consumption taxes by 50 percent on soft and non-carbonated drinks. Starting January 1, 2019, manufacturers of soft drinks will pay MAD 45 for 100 liters instead of MAD 30. Domestic taxes on nectar will also increase from MAD 10 to 15 per 100 liters.
It remains to be seen whether the House of Representatives will accept the amendments or not. The Finance Bill also said that it will raise taxes on several brands of cigarettes, including Marlboro and Marquise.
Marlboro packs will be sold for MAD 40 instead of 33.
Article 5 of the 2019 Finance bill said that the minimum tax rate will increase from MAD 567 to MAD 630 per 1,000 cigarettes.
Minister of Finance and Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun estimated that the increase on tobacco taxes will generate additional revenue of about MAD 1.2 billion in 2019.
The Finance Bill will also continue to subsidize butane gas, sugar, and flour by allocating MAD 17.67 billion for the subsidy fund. The government allocated MAD 68 billion for education and MAD 16.3 billion for the health sector to improve and overcome crises in the two sectors.