Wide Angle

Capping fuel prices : Oil companies in Morocco «do not understand the decision»

Against all odds, the Minister of General Affairs criticized last week the decision of the anti-competitive practices’ council, which disapproved of Lahcen Daoudi’s plan to cap fuel prices. Commenting on that, oil companies in Morocco said that «they still don’t understand» the measure.

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Proposed by General Affairs Minister Lahcen Daoudi and disapproved by the Conseil de la Concurrence, capping fuel prices is still making headlines in Morocco. On Monday, the association of oil companies in Morocco (Groupement des pétroliers du Maroc) was surprised by the government’s will to cap fuel prices.

«We still do not understand this measure», Adil Ziyadi from the association of oil companies told Yabiladi on Monday. «We are sticking to our guns when it comes to capping fuel prices», he said, adding that the association refuses the measure.

«We have been committed to the government’s decision in 2015», when it decided to lift the cap on fuel distributors in an attempt to reduce current consumption and improve the national economy. «Investments were made; since the, that is why the cap was lifted in the first place», Ziyadi added.  

To Adil Ziyadi, fuel distributors agree on «the Conseil de la Concurrence’s opinion». «Making backward steps is not a wise thing to do», he argued.

«It would not be fruitful economically speaking, especially as fuel prices in Morocco are the cheapest in the Mediterranean region when compared to international ones», he explained.

A meeting scheduled this week to reach a common ground

According to Ziyadi, «the government has the right to put its rules, even when they contradict the opinion of the Conseil de la Concurrence». A meeting scheduled on Tuesday, February the 19th, between the General Affairs Minister and the association is expected to tackle the issue, Ziyadi said, without elaborating.

For the record, the Conseil de la Concurrence, a Moroccan authority charged with combatting anti-competitive practices, took a look at the request submitted by General Affairs Minister Lahcen Daoudi on fuel prices capping.

On Thursday, February the 14th, the body rejected the decision, stressing that capping fuel prices in the Kingdom «is not enough», especially as it is not going to be ending the real problem.

The Council’s opinion comes after Lahcen Daoudi said in a video shared, January the 30th, by the Justice and Development Party website that a «capping mechanism is coming».

The decision is a response to the major boycott campaign launched in April, 2018, by Moroccans to protest the high cost of living. The campaign targeted three major companies, including the country’s leading fuel distributor Afriquia SMDC, owned by Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch.

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