Interview of the Minister with the MAP : 08/10/2012

Interview of the Minister with the MAP

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Nizar BARAKA, stated in an interview with the Moroccan Press Agency that the 2013 Finance Bill aims to improve the efficiency of public expenditure through a better targeting of public policies and maintain the effort of investment to promote employment as well as support growth.  

The Government stresses the need to support growth and maintain the effort of the state as regards investment, as well as the rationalization of operating costs by reducing the State spending, he specified.

The Minister explained that this program, which expects a growth rate of 4.5%, oil prices of $ 105 per barrel and 8.5 dirhams to the dollar, is part of the scope for efficiency, rationalization and improving the efficiency of public spending; the aim being to reduce the budget deficit to 4.8% in 2013 compared to 6.1% in 2011.

To achieve this objective, the Government plans also to sustain growth to create some room for the budget and public policy to operate, he continued.

In 2013, we aim to mobilize additional revenues through greater involvement of public institutions to the budget, a better use of State owned areas, in addition to measures to stabilize tax and non-tax revenues as for the State, added Mr. BARAKA.

Moreover, the Government intends to maintain investment to create more jobs, stated the Minister, stressing the need to strengthen employment growth through the implementation of measures to facilitate the integration of young people into job markets with a focus on long-term unemployed persons and the opening of additional areas of recruitment for private schools and civil society, through associations.

To promote job creation, the government also plans to be part of a productive diversification strategy with the development of high value-added sectors, in addition to supporting the construction sector, he indicated,statingthat new program will be set up with other sectors, in addition to those included in the Emergence Plan.

Among these sectors, the minister referred to the pharmaceutical, chemical and parachemical industries in addition to metal, mechanical and electrical industries. The Minister highlighted the importance to support SMEs, reduce the tax burden for the very small and small businesses and support sectors which are in difficulties including tourism.

He also focused on the role of the social economy in particular with the adoption of the Code of cooperatives which have a great potential for job creation. On the other hand, he announced that the Government intends to sustaineffort to recruit stuff at the public sector under the 2013 Finance Bill, recalling that more than 26,000 job positions were created for the year 2012.

He also insisted on the need to strengthen the employment growth to reach 40,000 jobs created for each growth point against an average of 25,000 and 30,000 jobs by growth at present.

With regard to the reforms of the compensation fund, pension and tax system, the Minister believed that they could not be postponed any more, stressing that the acceleration of the implementation of such projects is one of the priorities of the government. He added that some progress was made in these structural reforms but it was not finalized.

As for the compensation fund reform, Mr. BARAKA stated that the Ministry Delegate in charge of General Affairs and Governance works in partnership with several departments, the operators involved and representatives of consumer organizations in order to achieve a reform that may have the approval of all the partners.

In this context, he explained that the main objective of this reform is to maintain the compensation budget at a sustainable level, as well as to target poor populations through conditional direct cash transfers.

Thus, the Minister pointed out the setting up, under the2012 Finance Act, of the Social Cohesion Fund, which helped finance the poor medical assistance scheme and finance Tayssir program that aims to fight against school dropout, in addition to support poor families with disabled children. The sustainability of this fund will support the compensation reform in its targets, while acting on other aspects including pricing structures, he further said. Regarding the retirement issue, Mr. BARAKA stated that the technical committee set up for this purpose almost finalized its report.

We believe that this reform cannot be achieved without the participation of the social partners while ensuring to maintain the sustainability of the funds, insisted Mr. BARAKA. Referring to the tax reform, he pointed out that this issue will be discussed during the tax meetings scheduled for February 2013, stressing that the goal of this reform is to have an adequate system to meet the needs and expectations of economic growth and development.

This reform aims also to enable this system to be at the service of citizens and businesses and to bring the administration closer to citizens, he continued. It is therefore necessary to support growth, investment and business, to create afairer tax system and improve the relationship between taxpayers and tax authorities, explained M.BARAKA.

Concerning the agricultural sector, the exemption will be extended until the end of 2013, according to the high royal guidelines, he stated, claiming that the taxation system in this sector will be discussed within the framework of the tax meetings.