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King Mohammed VI's roadmap provides 120 billion dirhams for post-Covid-19

Drawing lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, King Mohammed VI presented a roadmap on Wednesday to face the effects of the health crisis which has also become an economic and social one. 120 billion dirhams will be injected into the national economy and the Sovereign announced the creation of a «Strategic Investment Fund», a «Strategic National Agency» and the generalization of social coverage for the benefit of all Moroccans within a period of five years.

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The current health crisis has marked the King’s speech for the Throne Day. On the eve of the national celebration, the royal address was exclusively devoted to the coronavirus crisis, the measures undertaken to cope with its spread, its repercussions on households and the national economy and the means to prepare for a second Covid-19 wave.

During his address, King Mohammed VI recognized that managing the pandemic required a series of difficult and severe decisions. «Those were difficult - and at times painful – decisions to make. They were not taken light-heartedly. In fact, we had to resort to those measures for the sake of the safety of our citizens and in the interest of our nation», he stressed.

A policy to which Moroccans have adhered overwhelmingly. «The sense of discipline, the level of awareness and the responsiveness shown by the citizens and by all the nation’s forces during this past period are, indeed, a source of pride», the King said.

«I wish to salute the spirit of solidarity and responsibility shown by the citizens - be it at the individual level, or as part of the praiseworthy initiatives carried out by civil society organizations during the lockdown», the Monarch said.

120 billion dirhams to support the national economy

«I am aware of the magnitude of the adverse effects this crisis has had, not just on public health, but also at social and economic levels (…) I therefore called for the creation of a special fund to address the health situation as well as the economic and social repercussions of the epidemic. I am heartened to see that this initiative has been spontaneously embraced and that it continues to be actively supported», the King said.

«The initiative has made it possible to raise 33.7 billion dirhams. Total expenditure, so far, stands at 24.65 billion dirhams, an amount spent on social support initiatives and on the medical supplies needed. Furthermore, 5 billion dirhams will be allocated to the Central Guarantee Fund to boost the economy».

Royal speech

Despite all these measures «the repercussions of this health crisis will be harsh, notwithstanding our efforts to reduce its impacts», King Mohammed VI explained. The pandemic «has also revealed a number of shortcomings, especially in the social field. Among them are the size of the informal sector, the inadequacy of social safety nets - especially for the most vulnerable groups - and the exposure of a number of sectors to external fluctuations», he added.

Hence, the King called for «reconsidering our priorities and to laying the foundations for a strong, competitive economy and for a more inclusive social model».

And as any plan requires funding, the Sovereign announced that «some 120 billion dirhams will be injected into the national economy, representing 11% of our GDP – a proportion that will place Morocco at the forefront of the most enterprising countries in terms of post-crisis stimulus packages».

Objective: generalizing social coverage within five years

This financial effort will be backed up by the creation of a Strategic Investment Fund whose mission will be «to stimulate productive activities and support major public-private investment projects in various sectors».

The implementation of the Economic Recovery Plan will also be accompanied by «a sweeping reform of the civil service» in order to «correct the structural deficiencies of public institutions and state enterprises should be addressed to achieve optimal integration and increase these institutions’ economic and social effectiveness».

The roadmap presented on Wednesday by King Mohammed VI also includes the constitution of a «national agency to be tasked with ensuring the strategic management of state contributions and assessing the performance of public institutions».

«I therefore believe the time has come to launch a decisive process for the expansion of social welfare coverage to all Moroccans within the next five years. This project needs to be implemented gradually, as of January 2021, using a well thought-out plan, starting with compulsory health coverage and family allowances, then moving on to pension and unemployment benefits», the Monarch concluded.  

This generalization of social coverage aims to «become an essential lever for the insertion of the informal sector into the national economic fabric». The government is thus invited to complete, in consultation with the social bodies, the development of a «global pragmatic vision [including] the planning, the legal framework as well as the financing options». But the King warns against «any instrumentalisation of this noble societal project for political ends».

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