Guerraoui considers the government’s proposal to regulate fuel prices illegal and a potentially negative impact on the economy.
By Mohammed Amine Benabou
Rabat – There is mounting tension between Lahcen Daoudi, Morocco’s minister of public affairs and governance, and Driss Guerraoui, the Competition Council president.
Following a conference held by the council on February 14, Driss Guerraoui expressed surprise over Lahcen Daoudi’s refusal to provide him with the government’s study on regulating oil prices.
Daoudi stated that it is not the responsibility of government institutions to hold MPs accountable. The role of these bodies, he said, is to consult but not to evaluate.
Daoudi has reportedly caused the tension with Guerraoui by claiming the report is confidential.
Another cause of the tension was Daoudi’s refusal to attend an ad hoc meeting requested by Guerraoui to discuss with Lahcen Daoudi the legality of price capping, after Daoudi had consulted with the General Secretariat.
Guerraoui said in a press interview that the government’s decision was illegal. He said it does not comply with the requirements of Article 4 of the Law on Freedom of Price and Competition.
Under the law, the administration may “take temporary measures against excessive price increases or decreases caused by exceptional, catastrophic or manifestly unusual market conditions in a sector after consulting the Competition Council.”
Legally, the government could only cap oil prices for a six-month period, and only a one-time extension is allowed.
Guerraoui claimed he received only one document containing fuel company revenues from the liberalization of fuel prices in 2015 to 2018. He said he wants to know “the basis on which the government made the decision.”
He argued that the document was insufficient and that it is legally imperative that all administrations and institutions provide all documents requested by council.
In a an interview with Moroccan outlet Al3omk, Guerraoui stated that he considers the measures “insufficient and inefficient” economically, competitively, and for social equality.
He added that the same decision to cap prices, effective December 2014 through December 2015, proved unsuccessful.
Daoudi said Morocco would begin regulating fuel prices “between the end of February and mid-March.”