Morocco’s Minister of Economy, Mohamed Benchaaboun, has hinted at the existence of nepotism and favoritism in appointments to senior public service positions.
“For appointments to senior positions, we have noticed that there are some sectors that make appointments in a way that … There are some directors or general secretaries that …,” Benchaaboun said in a statement punctuated with hesitancy before attempting to retract his words.
Benchaaboun made the statement on Monday, December 28, during a meeting with the Justice, Legislation, and Human Rights Committee at the House of Representatives.
The statement came in response to a question about the criteria and procedures for the appointment of senior officials. Moroccan parliamentarians raised the question after several political parties accused some appointments of bias and stemming from nepotism and favoritism.
“It is necessary to revise the criteria and requirements,” Benchaaboun said after admitting there are many issues with how appointments to senior positions take place.
He recalled King Mohammed VI’s speech at the opening of the 2020-2021 legislative year.
“I call on the government to carry out a thorough review of criteria and procedures for the appointment of senior officials in order to encourage competent individuals to hold public office,” the King said on October 9.
Benchaaboun, whose department also covers administrative reform, presented several examples of the issues relating to appointments.
One of the problems, according to Benchaaboun, is the lack of sustainability in the appointments. The minister stressed the need to give appointed senior officials enough time to make a positive change, instead of quickly changing them because of a lack of results.
Benchaaboun also highlighted how the appointment criteria are too general and do not respect the characteristics of each senior position.
“We can find a director who supervises 5,000 public servants and manages a budget of one to one and a half billion dirhams and another director who only supervises two people. However, both directors go through the same appointment protocol, and have the same salary and benefits,” the minister illustrated.
Benchaaboun criticized the lengthy legislative process for appointments to senior positions, as well, and stressed the need to adopt a faster and more flexible mechanism.
“Appointments have to go through the Government Council and the two houses of the Moroccan Parliament before they become official. This is why some newly-created institutions wait two or three years before their directors join their positions,” he said.