El Othmani: ‘Morocco Loses 7% of GDP to Corruption’

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Rabat – Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani has said that corruption wastes approximately 7 percent of Morocco’s GDP every year and claimed that the most effective way to deal with Morocco’s enduring economic and social problems is to fight corruption in public administration.

El Othmani, who is also chairperson of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), made his remarks at a meeting of PJD-linked engineers and youth on Sunday, July 30, in Rabat. The country’s incumbent party had summoned the meeting to appraise Morocco’s economy and propose “a new development model” to meet the various challenges of the North African kingdom.

In what seemed to be a direct response to King Mohammed VI’s Throne Day speech which called for immediate action to solve Morocco’s social and economic issues, El Othmani said that Morocco’s economy is suffering from dysfunctional public services and an ineffective redistribution of national resources.

Corruption is the biggest obstacle for Moroccan progress, El Othmani said. He added that other corruption-related practices, such as poor coordination between different ministries, also impede Morocco’s path to development.

To bolster his claims, El Othmani said that the amount of money and resources that Morocco loses to corruption each year could build 150 schools and 300 hospitals. He concluded that a new development model for Morocco should include a responsible public service built on merit and political accountability.

“Morocco is not short of resources, but of effective management,” El Othmani was quoted by Assabah as saying. He explained that implementing effective policies to tackle corruption is the surest way to ensure inclusive and society-oriented growth.

Insufficient efforts

The King’s Throne Day speech may have spurred El Othmani to make the remarks, but it was not the first time he acknowledged the country’s unsatisfactory record when it comes to fighting corruption and ensuring political accountability.

In February, El Othmani said that Morocco’s is still underperforming in the fight against corruption and that the country’s development is held back by ineffective policy implementation.

Curbing financial corruption plays “a great role” in realizing equity and development, the PJD leader said at the time, complaining that Morocco’s corruption and accountability index is “still very low.”

In late July 2017, the US State Department released a report identifying corruption and ineffective management as great concerns for Morocco’s economic growth. The report claimed that the kingdom’s development plans and efforts are considerably limited by corruption and inefficient management.

While Morocco has made a number of reforms to boost employment and growth and fight corruption, the government “does not implement the law effectively,” the report noted. It explained for example that the kingdom’s Central Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (ICPC) was “without senior leadership” throughout 2017.