To put an end to clandestine workshops exposed to risks and operating in cellars and basements, an information meeting took place this Friday, May 26 at the economic activity zone (ZAE) of Oulad Azouz, in the province from Nouaceur to Casablanca. These areas have been designated to accommodate production units exposed to risks in the textile and leather sectors. Here are the details.
The tragedy that occurred in Tangier in February 2021, resulting in the death of more than 28 people after the flooding of a textile unit illegally installed in the cellar of a villa, was a real shock. In response, King Mohammed VI gave urgent instructions for the creation of economic activity zones with the aim of organizing and restructuring production or distribution units, moving them from residential areas to the outskirts.
These instructions have been implemented and zones of economic activities have emerged in almost all of Morocco, particularly in the region of Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, in order to accompany industrial units and workshops and avoid such drama in the future.
Under the chairmanship of the Wali of the Casablanca-Settat region, Said Ahmidouch, a meeting was held this Friday with the owners of the units benefiting from the ZAE, which have been completed with the aim of relocating the production units operating under conditions dangerous and putting their employees at risk, especially those who work in basements and cellars.
This meeting took place in the presence of the governor of the province of Nouaceur, the governor of the prefecture and the provinces of Moulay Rachid, the secretary general of the wilaya of the region of Casablanca-Settat, the secretary general of the prefectures of Hay- Hassani and Ain Chock, as well as leaders of companies, institutions and public sectors involved in carrying out the work and supporting the units concerned during their relocation. The representative of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) was also present.
At the beginning of the meeting, and after the welcome speech of the governor of the region of Nouaceur, the wali of the region took the floor to underline that the ZAE of Oulad Azzouz is part of an ambitious program carried out for the benefit of the units of production in Casablanca and surrounding areas, in accordance with royal guidelines.
This program aims to create four industrial zones for economic activities, with a budget of 500 million dirhams, as well as an envelope of 50 million dirhams allocated to accompany and support the targeted production units during their relocation. These measures include the rental of premises, the acquisition of equipment, training and capacity building.
Ahmidouch also pointed out that the industrial zones included in this program are inexpensive units for businesses and production units compared to other zones and premises, and that the rent in these zones does not exceed 15 dirhams per square meter. The state will bear half the cost of renting the premises for the first two years, as well as support for the acquisition of equipment and work tools, he stressed.
The wali also urged owners of existing production units to engage in and benefit from this program, in cooperation with state and local authorities. He pointed out that these owners are currently working under dangerous and illegal conditions. He recalled that a preliminary list of 50 units has been established, these units having submitted requests to transfer their activities to the Economic Activities Zone (ZAE) of Oulad Azzouz. The ZAE comprises 132 premises with an area of 195 square meters each, as well as a mezzanine.
In a statement to MoroccoLatestNews Fr, Assal Ratiba, head of service at the regional delegation of the Ministry of Industry, stressed that this is a human and economic project aimed at transferring units that work in dangerous conditions towards the economic activity zone of Ouled Azouz. She noted that the targeted units have benefited from the support of the authorities to facilitate the administrative procedures.
The representative of the Regional Directorate of Trade and Industry presented a set of data and explanations on the program ” SALAMA SME“. This program allocated 50 million dirhams to Casablanca and surrounding areas to help the units concerned during the relocation phase. It offers financial support for the cost of renting premises, acquiring equipment, work tools, training, support and capacity building.
In detail, the official revealed that the ministry is committed to providing financial support capped at 36,000 dirhams per unit under the Salama PME program. This support will cover 50% of the amount of the rent for 24 months. In addition, the ministry offers support for the acquisition of equipment by the units, up to 30% capped at 34,000 dirhams per unit.
For his part, the regional delegate of State domains, Mohcen El Khettani stressed that the Ministry of Finance has contributed to this project via the financial base, noting that the State domains have made available 8, 5 hectares for the establishment of the Azouz Economic Activity Zone.
And to continue that the domains have released 400 million dirhams within the framework of a framework agreement to support economic projects in Casablanca, noting that at the level of the ZEA of Ouled Azouz, the regional delegation has made available to beneficiaries of units of 195 m2 each with a symbolic rental price (15 dirhams/m2).
After the presentations of the regional directorate of industry and trade and the regional directorate of state assets, the floor was given to the representatives of the companies and units concerned, who expressed their satisfaction with this initiative and the interest of the public authorities in the situation of this category of producers who work in inappropriate conditions.