Tanger Med Zones, a subsidiary of the Tanger Med group, announced in November 2021 the launch of an Outlet project in northern Morocco, located between Tetouan and M’diq at Cabo Negro, with an area of 70 ha, with a first tranche delivered in April 2022, if deadlines are met.
Having the same features as the enclave of Sebta, this new commercial area will include leisure spaces, restaurants, and will see the installation of several world leaders in ready-to-wear, catering, or even furniture such as the the case of the Swedish giant IKEA, which has already acquired an area of more than 3 ha, the construction of which is in progress.
The ambition of this Big project is to gradually replace the enclave of Sebta and its Outlets. Thus, the development of this new area between M’diq and Tetouan will allow the entire region to emerge from the economic crisis it has been going through for some time now.
But with the upcoming reopening of the Sebta enclave, which has been closed for two years, will this commercial zone project in the North, the delivery of the 1st tranche of which is scheduled for soon, be disrupted? Will it be necessary to set up tax advantages in this commercial area, like Sebta, to make it more attractive and thus attract investors and energize the region?
Asked about this, Driss Effina, professor at the National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics and President of the Independent Center for Strategic Analysis, first recalled that this project is part of the setting up of a adequate economic model for the northern zone, with the aim of having a sustainable economic model that will allow the inhabitants of this zone to be taken care of and give them the possibility of creating more wealth and employment.
” Today, this total dependence on products that come from Sebta must change. And for this to change, we must set up in this northern zone activities that create wealth, activities and added value. We can find investments that come from outside to create jobs for young people in the region, and like that the economic model of this area will change. He will no longer be dependent on Sebta products, whether for women or young people. So there has to be this long-term change. This is what Morocco wants through this project.”explains the specialist.
In addition, Driss Effina points out that it is not just this project that is underway, but other projects will see the light of day in the area, with the ultimate goal of having an adequate economic model with this area in relation to the sea and the tourist facilities that exist there and the natural resources of the area.
Bold tax measures are needed
In a recent interview on this subject, Driss Effina, who is part of the group that designed the proposal for this northern commercial zone, as part of the Regional Territorial Development Plan for the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region, considered that for the success of this project, it will be necessary to declare the area as fiscally reduced.
” Sebta benefits from a number of tax advantages, including reduced taxess. And these advantages allow traders to pay less taxes and thereby lower their prices (…) We have already done a comparison study between Sebta at the time and Fnide’q, and we found that there is a problem of all that is products that arrive from China and other zones which profit from important reductions in terms of right to the import towards this zone there and advantages such as the reduced tax. This means that these products are sold at unbeatable prices”, he had explained.
Today, he comes back to this same analysis, recalling that indeed, Sebta benefits from a special tax regime. And Morocco must use the tax instrument at this level and even investment aid, he suggests, “ like that, there will be a fiscal balance between the two zones (Sebta and the Moroccan zone)”.
” If the fiscal instrument does not work in favor of the national territory, indeed, this imbalance will be beneficial to Sebta in the long term. This economic dimension is thoroughly present in several of our projects at the national level. And that is why there are failures everywhere on several levels. If we don’t give these projects an economic foundation, they won’t actually succeed and we’ll realize at the end, within 5 to 7 years, that the expected effect has not been hitconcludes the economist.