The Moroccan government recently released its semi-annual budget to the parliament for the second half of the current year, Al-Hayat newspaper reported. The new budget, presented by the Prime Minister, Mr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Yousefi, cited MD 79.654 billion ($7.6 billion) in expenditures and MD 74.886 billion in ($7.11 billion) revenues, translating into a MD 4.768 billion ($453.2 million) deficit.
Although previous forecasts anticipated a 6% growth rate Morocco's GDP for 2000, Moroccan Minister of Treasury, Mr. Fathallah Oualalou, pegged the growth rate of the Kingdom's GDP at no more than 3%. He added that the recent drought, which devastated the country for a second consecutive year, represented a severe setback to local agricultural output. Lack of rainfall in recent years has posed a great obstacle to Morocco's economy, with agricultural products constituting 16% of national GDP.
Public sector employees' salaries are estimated at MD 41 billion, which is equivalent to 50% of the budget. Job creation has continually plagued the nation, with unemployment reaching 20% in recent years.
In the face of these recently released economic indicators and various problems that plague the Kingdom's economy, King Mohammed VI continues on the road to economic reform, which his father began in the early 1980s with the support of the IMF and World Bank. These reforms, which have included overhauling the banking and tax systems and lessening import restrictions, have led to decreased inflation, increased per capita income and more healthy government financial accounts.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )