Rabat – Moroccan Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani announced Thursday that the government will suspend the implementation of the new tax measures using electronic invoicing which recently sparked uproar among merchants.
Speaking at the weekly Government Council meeting, El Othmani said he seeks to communicate with concerned government sectors and merchants’ representatives “to review the difficulties encountered and find appropriate solutions,” according to a statement released after the meeting.
The new tax measures, introduced in the 2018 Finance Law, stipulate that merchants should use an electronic system to issue invoices. To do this, merchants must have billing software approved by tax authorities and an information system allowing a common database with the tax authorities.
The measures were expected to come into force in early 2019 with the aim to fight tax fraud.
After the the General Directorate of Taxes (DGI) announced the implementation the tax law earlier this month, many wholesalers in Casablanca closed their shops and held a sit-in at La Victoire Place protesting the new tax law.
El Othmani said Thursday that he is closely following the situation along with trade and interior ministers. He also expressed his willingness to “intervene and find a solution to any unacceptable transgression”.
The head of government said that the DGI and customs will hold a meeting on January 14 with merchants’ representatives to discuss the issue.
Two days after, Moroccan Minister of Trade and Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy will also meet with the chambers of commerce and industry, Customs, and merchants’ representatives for the same purpose.
El Othmani affirmed that his government will examine all the proposals that some associations, organizations and trade unions submitted to “achieve balanced solutions that take into account the interests of merchants, businesses, and the national economy, through a frank and constructive dialogue.”
‘Merchants play important role in national economy’
The head of government reiterated that small merchants and service providers subject to the the lump sum system are not concerned by the electronic billing system.
“We devote special attention to merchants and professionals due to the important role they play in the national economy,” El Othmani said.
Following the merchants’ demonstrations, the DGI announced that some media reported false explanations and interpretations of the electronic billing system.
The tax authority denied the explanations, saying they are “completely unfounded” and “indicate a misunderstanding of the new provisions of the 2018 Finance Law,” in a statement on January 8.
Speaking at a press briefing after the weekly Government Council meeting, the Government Spokesman to Mustapha El Khalfi said that the new measures “will not be applied until an agreement between all parties is reached.”