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Morocco’s 2020 draft budget bill to boost purchasing power

Budget of $9.1 billion is allocated to national education and health care while $1.46 billion is allocated to Caisse de Compensation to maintain subsidy of butane gas, sugar, flour.

by Saad Guerraoui

CASABLANCA

The Moroccan government said that it will allocate almost Dh26 billion ($2.6 billion) to boost Moroccans’ purchasing power, especially the middle class.

The government’s support is part of the implementation of its commitments made during the social dialogue, whose financial impact on the State’s general budget amounted to 11.3 billion dirhams of the year 2020, said Minister of Economy, Finance and Administration Reform, Mohamed Benchaaboun as he presented the 2020 Draft Budget Bill (PLF) before the two Houses of Parliament in Rabat.

“An envelope of 14.6 billion dirhams is allocated to the Caisse de Compensation to maintain the subsidy of butane gas, sugar and flour,” said Benchaaboun.

A budget of 91 billion dirhams is allocated to national education and health care, two vital sectors that have been deteriorating in the last two decades.

The minister stressed the need to improve the targeting of citizens living in poverty and gradually increase direct aids granted to them.

He said that 630 million dirhams were allocated to widows and 200 million dirhams to people with special needs.

The government allocated nearly 18 billion dirhams to reduce social and spatial disparities in terms of access to basic social services, health and education.

Phase III of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) will have a budget allocation of Dh2.2 billion ($220 million), in line with the new orientation of these programmes which aim to launch a new series of income generating and employment initiatives to reduce social and spatial disparities.

The INDH, which was initiated by Moroccan King Mohammed VI in 2005, has created 44,000 projects, 17,000 actions and 9,400 income-generating activities to reduce social disparities in rural and urban areas.

The government seeks to generalise medical cover by allocating Dh1.7 billion to the RAMED medical assistance scheme besides the implementation of medical cover self-employed people and the Mandatory Disease Insurance (AMO) for students.

Benchaaboun said that over Dh3.5 billion dirhams ($350 million) was allocated to strengthen social support for schooling for vulnerable groups, especially in rural areas.

The 2020 Draft Budget Bill provides for the recruitment of 20,000 civil servants, including 4,000 in health care and 16,000 in national education.

It expects a growth rate of 3.7%, a grain harvest of 70 million quintals and an average oil price of 67 dollars per barrel.

“These measures will allow us to preserve macroeconomic balances in a general way and to control the budget deficit at a level of 3.3%,” said Benchaaboun, adding that his government will count on privatisation that will generate Dh3 billion ($300 million) besides innovative financing mechanisms estimated at Dh12 billion dirhams ($1.2 billion) in a bid to achieve the objectives.

(This article first appeared in Middle East Online)

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