Mr. Mohamed BENCHAABOUN, Minister of Economy and Finance, and Mr. Salaheddine MEZOUAR, President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Companies, co-chaired Monday, June 24th 2019 in Rabat, the second meeting of the Observatory of Payment Periods. This meeting aims at strengthening the actions of public authorities and private sector representatives to control payment deadlines.
The Minister started his speech by stating that this meeting is part of the new dynamic inspired by the High Royal Guidelines included in the Speech of August 20th 2018 to the public administrations and local authorities, urging them to pay their dues to companies. In this respect, he noted the involvement of the various stakeholders in the public administration and the private sector.
This involvement resulted in generally encouraging outcomes but that remain below expectations : between 2017 and 2018, a drop of 14 days for administrations and for Public Establishment and Entreprises (EEPs) and 19 days for Local Authorities was recorded.
In this respect, the Minister stated during this event two new initiatives that will strengthen the actions already implemented :
- The new circular just addressed to the managers of the (EEPs), urging them to further efforts for the implementation of the provisions of the circular of September 18th 2018, through setting up new actions including, particularly the publication on the Portal of the Observatory of Payment Periods at the (EEPs) level, from October 2019.
- The Minister thus specified that the aim is to enhance transparency, which is a key lever for the accountability of all parties involved including the Authorizing Officers of the Administrations and Territorial Communities and the managers of the (EEPs), the budget authorities and the control agents.
The decree on late interest payment will be published in the next few days. This decree currently sets late interest payments at the rate of 5.25% and from January 1st 2021, these interest rate will be set at 6.25% while keeping the key rate applied today.
During this meeting, the Minister recalled some actions undertaken since the Royal Speech of August 20th 2018 including the circular of the Minister of Economy and Finance of September 18th 2018 which was sent to all the (EEPs) to raise awareness on the issue and to set up a system for monitoring and evaluating the progress made in this respect. He also recalled the circular of the Minister of the Interior addressed to local authorities and finally the circular of the Minister of National Education addressed to the regional academies of education and training.
In addition, the Minister stated that the electronic filing of invoices is allowed by the TGR (General Treasury of the Kingdom) since May 2019 and will be generalized progressively. He thus stressed that this e-filing is a major step forward in the management of public order. He also set forth the in-depth restructuring of the models of some (EEPs) implemented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance to provide means to meet their liabilities without putting great pressure on public finances. The Minister drew also attention to the electronic platforms developed to facilitate exchanges between clients and service providers.
The Minister also recalled the regional meetings held by the MEF with the Ministry of the Interior, the DGCL (Local Authorities Department) and the CGEM (the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises). These meetings allowed to determine the complaints of local operators as well as those concerning SMEs, local (EEPs), local authorities and decentralized State services.
On the other hand, the President of the CGEM noted the strong messages of the Royal Speech demanding the responsibilities of all stakeholders to reduce payment delays, a serious issue stifling all the national economy.
After welcoming the commitment of all the stakeholders involved, Mr. Mezouar presented the initiatives of the (CGEM) for raising the awareness of the actors in the private sector concerning this issue which has become a component in assessing businesses. He also stressed the need for an ethical code for public companies, local and regional authorities as well as private companies.
Moreover, Mr. Mezouar called for the activation of 3 devices. This concerns awareness raising, the legal system (monitoring and control) and the coercive dimension of the State.
Finally, the President of the CGEM stressed that beyond being a steering body, the Observatory of Payment Periods should constitute a real evaluation tool which will formulate and propose, quarterly, through thematic working groups, new steps and actions to be carried out.
The (CGEM) will conduct a quarterly survey on payment deadlines which will be issued and shared with the various stakeholders.