Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Economy and Finance, chaired, Tuesday, July 6th 2010, the work of the National Council for Credit and Savings (CNCE), which held its fourth meeting at the headquarters of Bank Al-Maghrib in Rabat.
Present at the meeting were: Mr. Abdellatif JOUAHRI, Governor of Bank Al-Maghrib, representatives of credit institutions and key economic sectors as well as other personalities from the world of economy and finance. In his opening speech, the Minister reviewed that the recovery of the global economy since the last quarter of 2009, remains highly differentiated with reference to regions and that growth in the Euro zone countries, our main partner, would not exceed 1% in 2010 and just 1.3% in 2011.
For Mr. Mezouar, this recovery is surrounded by many uncertainties including the impact of ceasing support, the sustainability of the austerity budget plans in the Euro zone and volatility of global commodity prices.
Nationally, the Minister welcomed the remarkable resiliency that our economy has demonstrated to the crisis, with sustaining growth at a satisfactory level (4.9% in 2009 against 5.6% in 2008), a budget deficit improvement over what was originally planned (2.2% of GDP instead of 2.9%) and a debt ratio comparable to its level in 2008(around 47%) .
Mr. Mezouar stressed that our foreign trade deteriorated because of the decline in foreign demand, transfers from Moroccans Residing Abroad (MRE) and tourist revenues. Thus, the current account of the balance of payments ended for the second consecutive year with a deficit of 5.1% of GDP. The Minister added that, for the year 2010, the Moroccan economy would achieve growth above 4% thanks to faster growth of non-agricultural sectors, which should reach about 5%.
As to public finance, the Minister assigned that apart from the significant increase in the compensation expense following the rise of energy prices on international markets, revenues and expenditures perform as anticipated by the finance act at the end of the first five months of the year.
The Minister noted that foreign trade begun to show signs of improvement. In fact, our exports increased after the first five months of 12.4% thanks to sales of phosphate products and other export sectors. Similarly, tourism receipts and remittances from (MRE) increased by 10.2% and 11% respectively. However, the Minister highlighted the weaknesses that persist in the balance of payments, including those related to the increasing energy costs and the declining of FDI.
The Minister welcomed the effectiveness of measures taken within the SWC which should be, as he stated, adapted to new circumstances, from a logical reaction to a proactive perspective and focusing on strategic and structural thematic.
Mr. Mezouar welcomed Morocco`s rating to" investment grade". He stressed that such recognition, from the international financial community, is a positive signal of the progress made by our country and which should not hide the structural deficiencies of our economy enhanced by the crisis.
In this regard, the reforms to be undertaken must concern the competitiveness of our exports and the attractiveness of "destination Morocco." The roadmap drawn up by the Minister includes continuing and expanding sectoral policies, improving business environment and setting up a planned and coordinated communication policy on the "image of Morocco?.
As to financial sector reforms, the Minister was pleased with the progress made since the last meeting of the CNCE in the implementation of a number of structural projects related to our financial sector.
Thus, in relation to strengthening financial sector supervision, the Minister pointed out that the bills relating respectively to CDVM and the supervisory authority of the insurance and social welfare sector should be considered by the Governing Council within a short time.
Concerning the development of capital market, Mr. MEZOUAR announced the adoption of the bill on the forward market of financial instruments by the Council of Ministers of June 19th 2010, the pursuance of Parliament discussions of the bill on securities loan and the coming into force of the securitization law following the adoption by the Council of Ministers of last June 19th 2010 of the decree implementing that law.
Regarding the development of savings in general and long-term savings in particular, the Minister reported that a technical committee dedicated to this question was set up.
The Minister underlined the continuing efforts to improve access to provide financing for economic agents. He expressed his satisfaction with the encouraging results of the national security system in 2009. In the same context, the Minister of Economy and Finance informed members of the CNCE of the implementation of:
? "Damane venture capital ?Fund to protect contributions in equity and quasi-equity from venture capital companies in SME;
?Emergence Invest? Fund to implement "the National Pact for emerging industries?.
Regarding the process of improving public access to financial services, Mr. MEZOUAR stressed that ?Al Barid Bank " became operational last June 8th.It will provide access to basic financial services for most of the population, namely the middle and low incomes especially in rural and suburban areas.
Concerning the microcredit sector, the Minister noted that the government supported cooperation between two major Microfinance Associations, on the one hand, and the launch of structural projects in the sector in late 2009 - early 2010 on the other. He referred, in this regard, to research on the changing institutional form of microfinance, the setting up of a network project for small size micro-credit associations, the gathering of additional resources for associations and the continued implementation of the Millennium Challenge Account program.
The Minister called for greater mobilization and support of Casablanca financial center project launched by His Majesty the King. He subsequently pointed to the development of the Treasury securities market namely the completion of the last prerequisites for an active management of public treasury and the strengthening of the efficiency of the Treasury securities market. He particularly stressed in this regard that the Treasury became a full participant in the money market and begun to carry out daily trading operations since February 18th 2010,
Close of, the Minister highlighted the importance of the advanced status granted by the EU to Morocco, which aim should be our openness and integration into the global economy. He noted that the financial sector may be held as a priority sector to initiate a real dynamic of regulatory convergence and make this status efficient. At the end of the session, the Minister addressed, on behalf of the participants, a telegram of loyalty and commitment to HIS MAJESTY THE KING MOHAMMED VI MAY GOD ASSIST HIM.