The action aligns with the country’s commitment to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic’s negative impacts on Morocco’s national economy.
Rabat – The Finance and Economic Development Committee at the House of Representatives adopted Tuesday, April 7 a draft decree-law that will expand the country’s economic instruments to address COVID-19 impacts.
The approval of the draft decree-law 2.20.320 allows the government to exceed the ceiling for external funding that was set for the 2020 fiscal year under article 43 of finance law 70-19.
Presenting the project, Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Benchaaboun evoked the exceptional situation of Morocco’s state of health emergency, highlighting the socioeconomic consequences resulting from the current lack of economic activity.
The committee’s decision aims to fulfill the country’s need in foreign exchange, given the pandemic’s impact on several sectors.
Tourism, foreign direct investment, export sectors, and remittances from Moroccans living abroad were impacted following Morocco’s preventive measure of suspending international flights on March 19, as well as travel restrictions put in place by other countries and economic downturns abroad.
The approval of the draft decree-law is a precautionary procedure to mitigate the economic impact of the novel coronavirus crisis.
The action aligns with King Mohammed VI’s March 14 order to create a Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19, which had an initial budget of $1 billion.
The fund is intended to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Morocco’s society and national economy, especially for vulnerable sectors such as tourism.
The crisis cell at the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism predicted the loss of at least 100,000 tourists in March alone.
Based on flight and hotel cancellations since Morocco confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on March 2, both the crisis cell and the country’s national airline, Royal Air Maroc (RAM), predict a severe downturn in tourism in the near future.
“We were on an upward trend with very strong double-digit growth in bookings compared to 2019 and today, our activity is, unfortunately, almost falling back to stability compared to the previous year,” a source at RAM told Media24.
The King’s initiative also allocates funds to cover the costs of upgrading medical infrastructure to appropriately treat COVID-19 patients.
Several public and private companies, national institutions, and philanthropists have already made contributions to the fund, which now totals over $3.5 billion.