Definitely, the mayor of Rabat Asmaa Rhlalou never ceases to alienate her constituents. Some even whisper of an administrative rebellion brewing internally. That said, after the story of parking meters, stray dogs… and other unpopularities, now the managers of cafes and restaurants in Rabat decide to put their chairs upside down on the tables by deciding to observe a strike of one day, May 31.
If we stick to the press release sent to MoroccoLatestNews.fr, it was following the holding of a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce that the capital section of the National Federation of Café and Restaurant Owners of Morocco (FNPCRM) that the adventure will be attempted. But the pot had been boiling for a while. In question a tax decision relating to the occupation of the public domain which costs cafe owners and restaurateurs the eyes of the head and which risks jeopardizing their business.
Noureddine El Harrak, president of the Federation of owners of cafes and restaurants in Morocco, had recalled, at the microphone of MoroccoLatestNews UK, that during the penultimate session of the Rabat City Council, held at the end of 2022, the latter had decided to increase the drink tax by 50/70 DH, as well as the state fees to reach 525 DH per square meter every three months, an increase of 600 to 700%.
“The novelty is that cafe owners in Rabat have received a notice of collection of state royalties from the public treasury to pay this tax following the tax decision recently approved by the City Council”. And the sums they would have to pay are exorbitant, especially since the consequences of Dame Covid are not quite behind us.
Faced with this situation, the owners or managers of cafes and restaurants have decided to take action by launching a protest movement against the Mayor’s measures which they consider “impulsive, reckless, even abusive”..
They reproach him, in addition to a lack of visibility, the absence of a dialogue to bring the two parties closer together, and to force a free and above all uncompromising showdown. But the straw that broke the cup of cafe owners is the blacklist of establishments “failure to pay taxes” that the mayor recently sent to the General Treasury.
The FNPCRM rejects the unilateral measures taken by the Municipality of Rabat to overtax establishments without taking into account the situation of owners and managers who have not yet recovered from three years of crisis. Hence, a catastrophic financial situation for some. Indeed, several establishments (at least the fifth) are on the verge of bankruptcy, according to the Federation.
Rabat has around 3,000 cafes and restaurants, a number of which operate in public space or rather the communal domain. A strike could be worth some disruption and some negative impact on the image of the capital.