Because of ” differences » in the figures concerning employment positions in the industrial sector, a standoff was observed between the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, and the High Commission for Planning (HCP).
This lingering dispute came to light during a meeting of the Productive Sectors Committee in Parliament, which was held last Wednesday. The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Riad Mezzour, questioned the credibility of the reports published by the HCP.
Thus, the government official sharply attacked Ahmed Lahlimi Alami, the High Commissioner for Planning, saying that “ if the ministry had followed the recommendations of the HCP, all development projects would have been suspended“. He even went so far as to consider the HCP reports as ” fake“.
This dispute between the two parties is not new and had reached its peak in 2018, under former minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy. At the time, Ahmed Lahlimi had asked for a meeting with the former Prime Minister, Saad Eddine El Othmani, because of erroneous figures published by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
In 2018, Minister Elalamy presented a proposal to the Council of Government, indicating that the industrial sector had created 46,000 net jobs in 2017, while figures from the HCP indicated that this number did not exceed 7,000 jobs.
An HCP source told MoroccoLatestNews that the institution measures what the economic sectors and branches produce according to well-established rules. They are based on the specific standards of the United Nations system of national accounts, which constitute the only reference for judging the credibility of the national accounts.
The same source explained that the Ministry of Industry and Trade bases itself on employment statistics in the industrial sector by referring to figures from the National Social Security Fund (CNSS). On the other hand, the HCP is based on economic, social and demographic research, in particular national accounting, which offers a reference image of the national economy in terms of structure of production, consumption, exchanges, rate of growth and distribution of wealth.
The HCP often presents figures that give a clearer view of net jobs, ie the difference between jobs created and jobs lost over a given period. This makes it possible to have a more precise image of the evolution of an economic sector, rather than being limited to the jobs created, underlines the same source.
The latest shocking figures from the HCP, published at the end of May, revealed that 67.6% of the total workforce in Morocco is unstructured, according to data coordinated with the International Labor Organization (ILO), which constitutes a first experience in Africa and the fourth worldwide.
Commenting on this controversy, Abdeljaouad Ez-Zarari, senior economist at the HCP, wrote on his page LinkedIn that the HCP is the only institution to publish data on employment, noting that the debate on this subject has existed since 2017.
Thus, Ez-Zarari pointed out that ” employment statistics, especially in the industrial sector, are always controversial, as they are subject to an attempt to compare between non-comparable data sources, not to mention the different approaches taken“.
The same economic expert pointed out that “ the Ministry of Industry and Trade presents gross figures on employment in the industrial sector, including subcontracts and structured enterprises, while the HCP presents net jobs created, whether paid or not, structured or not “.
In other words, and again according to the expert, job creation simply boils down to the balance between the number of active workers employed in a given year compared to the previous year, according to the different sectors.
” An active worker whose situation has been regularized and who has been authorized to work in a company is considered by Minister Mezzour as a job created, while for the national research on employment conducted by the HCP, he is not considered as a job created“, he cited as an example.
The economic expert pointed out that ” approaches differ and are not comparable, and sound thinking demands saying that there have been job losses in multiple sectors since 2020, after the coronavirus pandemic, rather than claiming that tens of thousands of jobs were created in the industrial sector alone“.
This ” dispute persistent relationship between the HCP and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce highlights the need for more effective communication and coordination mechanisms between different government entities. It is crucial to establish clear standards and methodologies for the collection and analysis of employment data, in order to obtain an accurate picture of the country’s economic situation.