Morocco’s defense ministry says that part of the projected increase in the country’s national defense budget is to cater to the needs of 15,000 conscripts undertaking military service.
Rabat – Recent reports indicate that Morocco is set to increase its defense budget by nearly 30% for next year.
Explaining the reasons behind the increase in a recent parliamentary session, Morocco’s Defense Minister said that the move is partly to cover the costs of compulsory military service for 2020.
Of the MAD 45.438 billion budget projected for next year (up from MAD 35.155 billion in 2019), MAD 700 million will be exclusively allocated to the 2020 military service.
The minister said that MAD 61 million will be spent on logistics (medication and transportation), while MAD 288 million is set to be spent on building or rehabilitating training and housing facilities. The lion’s share of the MAD 700 million (421) will serve to pay conscripts’ monthly wages, according to the ministry.
The return of national service sparked controversies in some of Morocco’s intellectual circles.
A major talking point among critics was that it would be better to invest in raising the standards of Moroccan education at universities or high schools, or do just about anything that could “emancipate” young Moroccans.
However, figures from the defense ministry and the command of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) told a different story, with waves of enthusiastic and patriotic youth enlisting for the 2020 military service.
133,820 young Moroccans, among them 13614 female candidates, enlisted. Only 15,000 (1100 women) made it to the final list, according to FAR. While FAR figures show female candidates were as enthusiastic as their male counterparts, the one-year experience is only “compulsory” for Moroccan men.