Council of Ministers: Morocco to Raise Health Budget to MAD 20 Billion


Rabat – King Mohammed VI chaired a council of Morocco’s ministers today in Rabat in which several draft legal texts and international agreements received approval.

Inspecting COVID-19 vaccine development

Before the adoption of the agreements, Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb gave a presentation about the progress of the COVID-19 vaccine under development by China, with regard to Morocco.

Ait Taleb emphasized that there are regular exchanges of information and contact with the concerned companies and the Chinese government.

According to the minister, all parties working on the vaccine are “showing goodwill on the matter.”

He vowed that all matters regarding the vaccine development are moving in the right direction.

In August, Morocco signed two cooperation agreements with China National Biotec Group Company Limited (CNBG) on clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The signing of the agreements came a few days after Ait Taleb announced that the country was set to participate in various “multicenter trials” to obtain sufficient doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

2021 finance bill priorities

After the health presentation, Minister of Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun updated the monarch on the general orientations of the draft law for the budget year 2021.

The minister stressed that the budget law will take into account all of the King’s guidelines voiced during his recent speeches.

The orientations of the finance bill for the 2021 budget year are based on several axes, including expediting the launch of the national economic recovery plan.

“The government will work within this framework to put in place all means to strengthen the exceptional financial effort announced in the Throne [Day] Speech. Preserving jobs and integrating the informal sector will be the top priorities,” the minister said.

King Mohammed VI last week called on the government to speed up the implementation of the recovery plan to revive Morocco’s economy and improve employment among youth.

The monarch also ordered last week the injection of MAD 15 billion ($1.6 billion) from the state budget to boost strategic investment.

Through the first axis, the government seeks to promote public investment to reach MAD 230 billion ($25 billion).

The measure will account for the mobilization of MAD 45 billion ($4.9 billion) under the Mohammed VI Investment Fund.

One aspect of the plan seeks to allow young people to access funding sources and includes an income tax exemption for newly-employed youth under specific conditions.

2021 finance bill: Morocco’s health system

The second axis will cover the generalization of health insurance for all, the rapid implementation of which King Mohammed VI has called for in recent speeches.

Benchaaboun vowed that the government will aid the generalization of health coverage by upgrading health services.

According to Benchaaboun, the government will increase the budget dedicated to the health sector by nearly MAD 2 billion ($217 million) to reach more than MAD 20 billion ($2.2 billion).

The COVID-19 crisis unveiled the crisis and deficiencies the health sector in Morocco is suffering, including a lack of equipment.

In response to the emergency need, Morocco’s government launched a special fund. The King announced the creation of the Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19 on March 15.

The fund generated billions, which the country used in part to buy equipment to treat and host COVID-19 patients throughout Morocco.

2021 finance bill: Public sector reforms

The third axis seeks to expedite public sector reforms to address structural dysfunctions of public establishments and enterprises.

Benchaaboun said the measure aims to achieve a “greater complementarity and coherence in their missions and improve their economic and social effectiveness.”

The economy minister ended his presentation by vowing that his department and other institutions will seek to bring the national economy’s growth rate to 4.8%.

He also forecast Morocco will reduce its budget deficit for 2021 by 6.5% of the country’s GDP.

Agreements adopted

During the council of ministers, King Mohammed VI also chaired the adoption of a draft organic law amending and supplementing Morocco’s “organic law relating to the appointment to higher functions.”

The project, according to Morocco’s state media, seeks to add two institutions to the list of strategic establishments and companies. The institutions are the National Agency of Registers and the Company of Guarantee and the Financing of Enterprise.

The monarch also approved three legal texts regarding Morocco’s military.

These include a bill on trust services for electronic transactions. This aims to establish “a more inclusive regime that allows the digitization of the majority of electronic transactions and ensures greater flexibility for a wide use of electronic signatures.”

The same bill includes fixing different levels of electronic signatures compatible with the quality of electronic transactions. It also aims to add other trust services including electronic seal and electronic time stamping as well as electronic registered delivery services and website authentication, according to Morocco’s state media.

Another decree the council of ministers adopted covers Morocco’s conditions and procedures for “issuing authorization for marine scientific research in waters under national jurisdiction.”

The provision outlines the regulatory framework for marine scientific research and its promotion. It also associates Moroccan authorities and researchers with marine scientific research conducted by foreigners while preserving Morocco’s national interests, security, and sovereignty. Furthermore, it lays the ground for the creation of a National Commission for Marine Research.

Another decree relates to an Auxiliary Forces personnel commission responsible for reform. It outlines the entity’s composition and operating procedures. It also puts a Moroccan Pension Fund representative on the commission and “reinforces the presence of the Auxiliary Forces corps” with a senior 1st class inspector officer. Additionally, the bill seeks to enable the commission to meet at Regional Command headquarters to provide services locally.