Rabat – His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist Him, chaired, on Thursday at the Royal Palace in Rabat, a Council of Ministers devoted to examining the general guidelines of the 2024 Finance Bill and approving a bill and a draft decree relating to the military field, three international conventions and a number of appointments to high office, says a press release from the Royal Palace spokesman, Abdelhak El Mrini.
At the start of the Council’s proceedings and in accordance with the provisions of article 49 of the Constitution, the Minister of Economy and Finance presented before His Majesty the King an outline of the 2024 Finance Bill.
The Minister stressed that the preparation of this Finance Bill takes place against a backdrop marked by the downturn in global economic activity, persistent geopolitical tensions and rising inflationary pressures and energy prices, in addition to the impact of the painful earthquake that struck our country last September.
Morocco has demonstrated, under the wise leadership of His Majesty the King, may God preserve Him, a positive response and high effectivity to this natural disaster. In application of the High Royal Instructions, an integrated, multidimensional program has been drawn up, encompassing all sectors and aimed at rebuilding and upgrading the affected regions. It concerns almost 4.2 million inhabitants of the affected regions, for an estimated budget of 120 billion dirhams over five years.
The Minister added that the Finance Bill aims to pursue the reforms launched and to implement the priorities set out in the Royal Speeches and the government program.
The general orientations of the 2024 Finance Bill revolve around four main points:
Firstly: Implementing the “Program for the reconstruction and general upgrading of the regions affected by the Al Haouz earthquake”, as well as reinforcing measures to combat cyclical impacts: In application of the High Royal Instructions, this program will be implemented rapidly, using an integrated approach and coordinated governance based on the establishment of the High Atlas Development Agency within a conventional framework involving all stakeholders, with contributions from the General State Budget, local authorities, the Special Solidarity Fund dedicated to managing the effects of the earthquake and the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development, in addition to international support and cooperation.
In parallel with the mobilization of an additional budget to honor social dialogue commitments, water resource management is a priority, through the acceleration of the implementation of the national drinking water supply and irrigation program, as well as support for agricultural inputs with a view to mitigating inflation and sustaining citizens’ purchasing power.
Secondly: Continuing to consolidate the foundations of the Social State: in particular through the implementation of the Royal social protection project, via the continued generalization of Compulsory Basic Health Insurance for underprivileged categories, in parallel with the gradual operationalization of direct social assistance starting from the end of the current year, by backing it up with the targeting system of the Unified Social Register, as affirmed by His Majesty the King in the Opening Speech to Parliament.
This program targets 60% of Moroccan families not currently covered by social security schemes. In view of the importance of this large-scale Royal societal project, and in recognition of the High Solicitude that His Majesty the King, may God glorify Him, grants to needy and vulnerable families, it has been decided that the value of direct social assistance should not be less than 500 dirhams for each targeted family, whatever its composition.
This societal project will be backed by the completion of the legal framework relating to the rehabilitation of the national health system, and the continuation of the reform of the education and training system, as one of the pillars of the Social State.
In application of the High Royal Instructions, priority will be given to the operationalization of the new housing assistance program.
Thirdly: Continued implementation of structural reforms: notably through the completion of the reform of the justice system, with the aim of consolidating the rule of law and guaranteeing legal and judicial security, necessary for the achievement of overall development, as well as the implementation of the High Royal Instructions relating to the revision of the Family Code.
In application of the High Orientations of His Majesty the King, may God glorify Him, productive investment will be set up as an essential lever for boosting the national economy and anchoring Morocco in promising productive sectors, notably through the continued operationalization of the Mohammed VI Fund for Investment and the implementation of the new Investment Charter, to consolidate the investment dynamic and contribute to the implementation of various structuring reforms in the fields of agriculture, tourism, administrative reform and the process of administrative deconcentration and advanced regionalization.
Fourthly: Strengthening the sustainability of public finances: in particular through reform of the Organic Law on the Finance Law, continued development of innovative financing, as well as enhancing the value of the public portfolio and improving its yield, by ensuring the implementation of the framework law on tax reform and the controlled and rational management of administrative operating expenses.
The Minister pointed out that the Finance Bill is based on assumptions of a growth rate of 3.7% in 2024 and a budget deficit of 4% of GDP.
After approving the general guidelines of the 2024 Finance Bill, the Council of Ministers approved a draft law and a draft decree relating to the military field.
The bill is meant to confer the status of Wards of the Nation on children who were victims of the “Al Haouz earthquake”, which struck this province on September 08, 2023, and whose impact also affected the prefecture of Marrakech and the provinces of Chichaoua, Taroudant, Ouarzazate and Azilal.
The draft decree amends the decree implementing the law on Wards of the Nation, in application of the High Royal Instructions aimed at improving their material situation and living conditions, by entitling each person with the status of Ward of the Nation, on an individual basis, to the lump-sum allowance reserved for Wards of the Nation, regardless of the number of members taken into care, instead of providing for a single allowance shared equally between the children of the same family.
As part of Morocco’s international commitments, the Council of Ministers approved three multilateral conventions, two of which are part of the Kingdom’s gradual accession to the legal mechanisms of the Council of Europe, open to non-member States. These are the Civil Law Convention on Corruption and the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
The necessary observations and objections will be presented on this subject, concerning provisions in contradiction with national legislation.
The third convention concerns a protocol adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization to extend the scope of membership of the Organization’s Council and its Air Navigation Commission.
In accordance with the provisions of article 49 of the Constitution and on the proposal of the Head of Government and on the initiative of the Interior Minister, His Majesty the King appointed a number of walis and governors, and the Director General of the National Agency for the Regulation of Cannabis Activities and Director of the Agency for the development of the Marchica lagoon site.
On the proposal of the Head of Government and on the initiative of the Minister of Economy and Finance, His Majesty the King also appointed Mr. Abderrahim Chafai as President of the Supervisory Authority of Insurance and Social Welfare”.
And on the proposal of the Head of Government and on the initiative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, His Majesty the King appointed Mr. Ahmed Tazi, Ambassador of His Majesty the King to the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Fouad Akhrif, Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Mr. Mohamed Ait Ouali, Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ms. Samira Sitaïl, Ambassador to the French Republic, Mr. Abdelkader El Ansari, Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, and Mr. Youssef Amrani, Ambassador to the United States of America.
His Majesty King Mohammed VI also approved the appointment of six Ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, France, China and the United States of America. This is a quality diplomatic movement, given that the six countries are strategic for the Kingdom, particularly with regard to multidimensional partnerships, the importance for the Moroccan Sahara Question as well as diplomatic coordination on the regional issues.
Relations with these countries, three of which are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, France and China), have always been driven and monitored directly by His Majesty the King.
The appointment of the Ambassadors, five of whom are officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, underlines the Royal confidence in the professionalism and competence of Moroccan diplomatic executives. The sixth Ambassador, Ms. Samira Sitaïl, is the first female Ambassador to be appointed to Paris since independence.
Ms. Sitaïl, with extensive national and international media experience, has very good knowledge of the French political and media landscape. In addition to a great mastery of the political field and the main economic and social issues of the Kingdom. She participated in several missions and actions of the Kingdom abroad.