The Strategic Watch Committee which has been opened by the Minister of Economy and Finance held its eighth meeting on Tuesday, December 15th at the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Rabat. The work focused on recent developments in the international environment which was marked by signs of recovery in major world economies but with some uncertainty to amplitude of the recovery in 2010 as well as to the risk of the aftershocks.
At the national level, the Minister recalled that through a process of sustained growth, the Moroccan economy showed good resilience to the effects of the crisis. However, the latter revealed some structural weaknesses which requires more vigilance and responsiveness.
The presentation of the monitoring device on the changing industry conditions confirmed the attenuation rate decreases at all sectors (industry, tourism, OCP and transfers from Moroccans residing abroad). Yet, maintaining the cap on structural reforms to better position post-crisis is crucial.
The committee was also an opportunity to assess the performance of the Strategic Watch committee (CVS) as a mechanism for consultation and proposals, focusing on its accomplishments and achievements.
Indeed, in response to early signs of the crisis, the Moroccan government was quick to put up a (CVS) headed by the Minister of Economy and Finance (MEF) and including representatives of the leading departments from the public and the private sectors (AMITH, AMICA, GPBM).The aim of this committee is to provide mechanisms for consultation and responsiveness so as to face the impacts of the financial and economic crisis on the international economy notably the export sectors. Sectoral committees composed of representatives of the public and private sectors, have also been implemented to strengthen the capacity of proposal for operationalization and monitoring, in coordination with the Strategic Watch Committee.
Since its creation, the Strategic Watch Committee has upheld a number of measures whose main objectives are to preserve the positions of employment and strengthen the competitiveness of the affected sectors. These measures revolve around four components:
A social component
A financial component
A business component
A training component
As for the Moroccan tourism sector, a plan of action "CAP 2009" was introduced, with a budget of MD 100 million. In addition, in May, 2009, an additional amount of MD 300 million was allocated to strengthening the promotion of tourism, especially for the city of Marrakech. To support domestic tourism, the MRE also enjoyed the following:
A state grant of up to 10% of the project cost, to any holder of project that should move a contribution of equity in foreign currency equivalent to 25% of total capital and may have a bank credit ceiling to 65% of the total of Investment;
Free money transfers, until December 31st 2009, made through Moroccan banks or their networks abroad;
A decrease, from June 2009, to 50% commission rate applied to all external transactions;
Furthermore, the evaluation of steps implemented to cope with the crisis reflects a predominance of the social aspect with a share of 59% of applications. The analysis of the situation through such measures is as follows:
Social component: The CNSS has allocated MD 357.3 million to repay 421 companies. As to sectors, the textile- garment companies and leather represent over 90% of recipients, followed by the automobile sector with 8%.
Financial component: The CCG has dealt with 115 cases, 93% of which are related to the textile sector, corresponding to an amount approved of MD 686 million.
Trade Component: Many applications have been processed since the implementation of this measure. All sectors were affected especially the textile sector and the foreign exchange market.
Training component: 134 applications were approved with 111 for the textile-leather and 20 for automobile suppliers.
The measures taken to cope with the crisis combined with the effects of the stimulus plan implemented by our major economic associates have reduced the pace of declines seen since the end of 2008 and early 2009. The most significant improvements were observed in the two main sources of foreign currency namely tourism and money transfers. The pace of decline in tourism receipts and transfers of MRE went from -21.6% and -14.6% at end March 2009 to -8.1% and to -7.7% at end-October 2009. Other export sectors also show encouraging signs of recovery. Outside OCP, the rate of decline in exports significantly slowed to 13.9% in late October instead of 22.2% at end-March.
At the same time, the Strategic Watch Committee has also given importance to the growth sectors to optimize the creation of wealth and employment in these sectors. As such, the Committee was concerned with real estate and fishing sectors.
Reviewing its assessments, the Committee discussed the prospects for 2010 to improve, in association with economic partners, its experience in terms of monitoring and evaluation of impacts.
The committee should also focus on better targeting of measures and provide more sustained interest in transverse and sectoral themes. Thus, the committee will remain more vigilant to protect the growth potential of the country and employment and to profit from the advantages offered by the post-crisis period throughout optimizing the economic anchor of the country internationally and boosting engine exports and promoting dynamic sectors linked to domestic demand. This is achievable through a refinement of information systems, monitoring and evaluation including providing regional content; ensuring a monitoring and regular partnership evaluation of the economic situation; developing capacity proposal and work together on topics that may significantly improve the quality of human resources, efficiency and competitiveness of the productive sector, through the operationalization of the active public policies devoted to different sectors as well as through sustained coordination of efforts to deploy.
Participants in that meeting chaired by the Minister of Economy and Finance, included the Wali of Bank Al Maghrib, the Minister of Agriculture and Maritime Fishing, the Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts, the Minister of Trade and Industry and New Technologies, the Minister of Economic and General Affairs, the Secretary of State to the Minister of Interior, and representatives of various departments Members of this committee.
Also took part in this meeting, the chairman of the GPBM and the CEO of BMCE Bank, the CEO of (CGEM), the Presidents of the AMITH, AMICA and Federation of Tourism.