Morocco unwinds red tape for foreign investors
Morocco has announced a package of measures designed to spur foreign investment by removing some of the bureaucratic red tape that keeps it away.
The government will initiate fiscal reforms based on transparency and simplification, and revise the taxation system, King Mohammed VI said while inaugurating new industrial projects in Jorf Lasfar, 220 kilometers south of the capital, Rabat.
The fiscal system has to be an incentive to investors, he said, adding that "taxation must encourage productive and job-generating investments."
The king also urged the government to extend all possible assistance to investors and to permanently take into account their concerns "to consecrate the state of law in the world of business."
Moroccan laws and heavy bureaucracy are always been cited as the major reasons keeping foreign investors from doing business in Morocco.
Commentators say the king, who assumed the throne last year, appears to be outpacing his government, led by a socialist prime minister, aged 75, in pressing for reforms.
The king addressed the core of the country's problems when he called the executive and the legislative branches to adopt a new modern charter on small and medium enterprises, which represent 95 percent of Morocco's businesses.
These firms, he said, play a key role in the country's economic and social development and in generating jobs.
Several of the new measures to be announced shortly for foreign investors will include new flexible laws on real-estate and financial investments code, especially in the promising sectors of tourism, handicraft, new information technologies and sea fisheries, officials sources say.
The king said Morocco would address other impediments to investments, such as the high cost of land. He noted that the Hassan II Development Fund, which he set up shortly after coming to power, will take up the development of industrial, tourism and commercial zones and plots and their cession to investors at reasonable prices.
The Hassan II Fund will also supervise projects likely to encourage private investments: backing up the textile sector, building lodgings, public installations, highways, and helping self-employed business people get small loans.
The Moroccan king also announced concrete measures for local and foreign investors.
The cost of power used in industry and agriculture will be reduced by 17 percent, he said. The decrease, he said, "will help inject more than $100 million in productive sectors."
The king pledged to align Morocco's power costs with international norms within three years. Industrial power cost in Morocco is deemed one of the highest in the world because of the high taxes imposed on it. But the head of the state-owned Moroccan power company has linked
decreasing power costs with cutting taxes on oil products. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)