Universal Social Protection: A New Perspective on Social Equity in Morocco

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Rabat – On April 14, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI presided over the signing of three framework agreements to generalize obligatory health insurance for a wide range of social categories, including professionals, self-employed workers, and non-salaried individuals exercising a private activity.

The historic reform will cost MAD 51 billion ($5.71 billion) annually, of which MAD 23 billion ($2.57 billion) will come from the state budget. The reform includes several objectives.

Details of the project 

One aim is to expand mandatory health insurance by the end of 2022, benefiting an additional 22 million Moroccans by covering the cost of treatment, medication, and hospitalization.

Broadening family allowances in 2023 and 2024, to cover families who do not benefit from family allowances according to the legislation in force, is another of the reform’s aims. 

Concerned families will benefit from either lump-sum compensations or allowances for protection from risks related to childhood (school drop-out), targeting 7 million school-age children.

The plan to expand the membership base of pensions seeks to include, by 2025, approximately 5 million people who are currently employed but are not part of a pension scheme after retirement.

The other objective is generalizing job loss-related benefits to cover people exercising stable jobs by 2025.

Under the first framework agreement, the social security project will benefit more than 800,000 citizens: Craftsmen, professionals, tradesmen, and independent service providers subject to the unified professional contribution scheme (CPU), the auto-entrepreneur scheme, and the accounting scheme. 

Morocco’s government seeks to implement the second framework agreement by granting obligatory health insurance to artisans and craft professionals, covering up to 500,000 members.

The third framework agreement covers health insurance for approximately 1.6 million farmers.

Perspectives of socio-economic development 

Morocco aims to enhance these social initiatives to drive the country’s development. 

The project received strong popular support and positive coverage even before it was officially announced, with most observers arguing that generalizing social protection is an encouraging step towards more equity and solidarity in Morocco. 

“This is a major step towards pragmatic social justice, based on solidarity, equity, and respect for citizens’ rights,” Rwandan analyst and political scientist Dr. Ismael Buchanan told Morocco’s state media, reacting to the project’s launch.

The analyst called on other African countries, wishing to achieve socio-economic reforms, to consider Morocco’s project as an example. 

Through the project, Morocco seeks to develop its socio-economic coverage by restructuring the informal sector within the Moroccan economy, providing protection, and preserving workers’ rights. 

Since the 1960s, Morocco has concluded bilateral social security agreements with several European and Arab countries. Within the country or abroad, Morocco seeks to center public policies around its citizens.

The approach is in line with the country’s commitment to comply with the universal normative framework for social protection.

 COVID-19 and social solidarity 

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the International Labour Organisation (ILO)  predicts that the generalization of an inclusive social protection system would help to stabilize the economy, protect employment, and accelerate the implementation of health measures.

As the impact of these measures depends on social security institutions’ ability to implement them effectively, the Moroccan Ministry of Health has already drawn up reforms after the launch of the general social protection.

The Ministry of Health plans on introducing a new health governance system under the general social protection project.

The project aims to contribute to the improvement of governance mechanisms, institutional accountability, and the fair allocation of resources.

Minister of Economy, Finance and Administration Reform Mohamed Benchaaboun said the project “represents a lever for integrating the informal sector into the economic fabric, to guarantee the protection of the working class and its rights,” according to the same source.

It is “a decisive turning point on the road to achieving balanced development and social and spatial justice under the leadership of King Mohammed VI,” he added.

The current pandemic heavily impacted the national economy.

Morocco plans to overcome the crisis’ repercussions by exploring new perspectives of investment, further opening itself to foreign investments. 

Introducing new strategies of economic and social development might allow quick and solid recovery from the crisis. 

Source: moroccoworldnews.com