Morocco has tendered for fiscal and legal studies for the liberalization of its tobacco sector, marking the start of the privatization of the monopoly. The finance ministry set a June 20 deadline for the submission of offers in a statement published on its website.
A senior ministry official told Reuters the tenders were the first step of the privatization process of state-run monopoly Regie des Tabacs, which generates an annual 8.5 billion dirhams ($729.4 million) turnover.
"The studies will set the timetable and the mechanism of the (privatization) process," he said.
The Socialist-led government two years ago launched a large-scale study on the liberalization of the sector, led by US Arthur Andersen Co. The official was not able to comment on the results of that study.
Established in 1910, Regie has a capital of 600 million dirhams, employs 2,500 people and operates five factories. The firm also contributes to around 6.5 billion dirhams in receipts to the public treasury and posted 715 million dirhams profit in 1999.
Morocco's population of 29 million consumes around 16 billion cigarettes per year with an average four percent annual growth in sales. ― (Reuters, Rabat)
© Reuters 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)