By Siham Ali
Morocco is positioned for economic growth following the May 20th passage of the 2012 Finance Act.
Though earlier this year investment in the kingdom virtually ground to a halt, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Najib Boulif said that the situation was “perfectly understandable”.
“Capital is cowardly at the moment,” he joked. “Investors need to know the terms on which they will be committing their capital. That’s why they’re waiting for the Finance Act to be passed.”
Many measures will be taken in close consultation with the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) in order to improve the business climate, the official said.
Boulif stressed that Morocco must capitalise on its stability by attracting as many investors as possible.
“Some neighbouring countries are still adjusting to the revolutions that have taken place in them, and others have yet to implement reforms. We must take advantage of this opportunity to get ahead in a highly competitive context,” he said.
Morocco has reached agreement with its economic partners to facilitate investment and access needed capital, he said.
Newly-elected CGEM president Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun said that increased capital and reforms were key to boosting small and medium-sized businesses’ (SMEs) entrepreneurial activity.
Moroccan banks have pledged to give SMEs access to funds, she said.
“The government has pledged to make it easier for SMEs to win public-sector contracts,” Chaqroun points out. The Law on Contracts will soon be amended. At the moment, it is difficult for SMEs to compete for the big projects that are being launched across the country, she said.
Brahim Guechraoui, who runs a construction company, said: “Calls for bids always say that you have to have experience in the relevant areas. Many SMEs are excluded by this requirement. International companies often have to be brought in.”
On May 23rd, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane called on banks to support private sector development and small and medium-sized businesses in particular.
Reforms aim to establish regional committees to aid the investment process and will deal with investor complaints about maladministration and corruption.
Najib Boulif said that monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the government’s plans will be crucial to the success of efforts to boost the business environment and stimulate investment.
Chaqroun, who is a businesswoman herself, said that the business climate in Morocco would improve if all of the commitments made by the government are implemented.
“Time is of the essence. We need to act quickly,” she said.