Public Finance Challenges in Morocco: Overview with Noureddine Bensouda

The debt must return to “a reasonable ratio” to avoid penalizing growth and the future economy, said the Treasurer General of the Kingdom, Noureddine Bensouda. At a time when Morocco is embarking on many reform projects resolutely turned towards the social, debt and growth remain central concerns.

On the occasion of the 14th International Colloquium on Public Finances organized in Rabat, Noureddine Bensouda, returns for MoroccoLatestNews, on the challenges Morocco has to face in a post-health crisis context, between several major projects, including the New Development Model, the reform of Health, Education, but also other related issues to the financing of these projects and where public finances play a key role.

Around 3 main axes, the treasurer of the Kingdom will tell us:

The social, a brick that will allow to gain in growth

I believe that we must remember one essential thing, it is first of all the vision of King Mohammed VI for our country. It is a far-sighted, clear vision that projects us over the next 30 years. If we have had, since the 80s and early 90s difficult times that we have been able to face economically, sometimes it has been criticized that there was something, a brick that was missing in this construction, and precisely this brick is the social, which is fundamental.

I think that all the States, through all the interventions that took place during this day and a half of the Symposium, agree on one thing, which is that we must focus on the human factor, human resources, because that finally the added value, it is created among other things by human resources, this is where strategic questions, such as health and education come from.

Human capital that is formed from the start of life, i.e. at the level of nurseries, preschool, primary, secondary and university, will allow us to train these decision-makers on the economic and political level, and who will be able to benefit from the Morocco towards more serene and more stable horizons.

And I believe that today, the policy of the State, as it is declined by the government is to try to compensate for what was lacking in the previous systems. The social has not been completely forgotten in the old programs, but here we have an insistence and a prioritization of the social and this is what will allow us to gain some points of growth.

“Healthy” public finances: A challenge

You have followed the entire project declined at the level of the report on the new development model, and a few reports here and there, from the economic and social council. Everyone agrees that Morocco needs to have growth, which will make it possible to generate more resources to satisfy the population, our fellow citizens, and these points of growth are based on innovation, research, on conceptualization. I believe that this report has the merit of having conceptualized what must be done for the future in different areas, sometimes without going into the details of the implementation as said by Chakib Benmoussa who honored us by his presence. , but in any case, he gave the main trends of what should be done.

But as you know, public policies necessarily need sound public finances. We can understand that during crises and we have seen it (during the covid-19 pandemic, editor’s note) it was the State that was called upon to support households, citizens and businesses, and that was made thanks to this Fund which was created on royal instructions. This Covid-19 Fund, where we were able to mobilize sufficient resources from the private and the public, made it possible for our population to first be supported economically and socially, and then to be vaccinated.

So you can still see that public finances remain the heart for the implementation of these public policies and of course when we see the interventions of Jacques de Larosière, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Director of the Bank from France, and with the other contributors who have shed light on them, we note that everyone is asking the question of growth, and of debt, which is a major subject today. What emerges from these different interventions is that the debt made it possible to make this somewhat difficult transition, but it must find a reasonable ratio that will not penalize growth and the economy, nor the society of tomorrow. .

Between “productive” investment and tax revenue

So we saw it, with Ms. Fouzia Zaaboul, Director of the Treasury and External Finance, she insisted on a fundamental subject: If we have to get into debt, it is for investment but it must be a productive investment and, moreover, she said, it should perhaps even be included in the organic finance law where it is said that the debt is used for investment, she would like to add a plus, speaking “productive” investment. And this is where we come back to annual budgetary programming, that is to say, how to usefully program the resources that are more or less scarce, to meet social demand, so these are the subjects that were discussed. , which give us some ideas or solutions.

On the one hand, it is necessary to master the management of the debt, try in the medium term to reduce it, even if it involves large amounts and on the other hand, see what are the types of financing, conventional or fundamentals such as, as you know, 90% of State revenue comes from tax and customs revenue, so how to strengthen this taxation in the broad sense and also in a changing environment, in mutation, a digital environment which makes ‘there is a shift in tax bases.

In the case of digital giants, as explained by a number of speakers, such as Ms. Mahat Chraibi, she has clearly shown that we are consumers, especially in developing countries, and that tax bases are mobilized in other countries which are producers and sellers of the service.

The last meetings, especially that of October 8, 2021 (of international taxation, editor’s note), within the framework of the countries which are signatories of an agreement (on the taxation of the digital giants of at least 15%), to try to find a balance in the taxation of this digital economy, so these are the challenges on which we are trying to give answers, and try to see what other countries are doing, and how Morocco can face it.

And the objective, that is a fundamental point on which Ms. Zaaboul returned, is to say, today, even if the debt has increased, the donors trust us, and they mainly trust us. for a central point, it is the political stability of Morocco.



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