Morocco in subsidy reforms push
Rabat, January 6, 2013
Morocco is prepared to start reforming its expensive system of subsidies for food and energy in June if a political decision to do so is taken, the minister in charge of the issue said.
State subsidies on food and energy shot up to 53 billion dirhams ($6.25 billion) in 2012 - 15 per cent of total public spending -from 48.8 billion dirhams in 2011 and 29.8 billion dirhams in 2010.
In a step supported by the International Monetary Fund, the government now aims to repair its finances by reducing the subsidies and shifting the focus of spending.
"Technically, the reform of the subsidies system is quite ready," general affairs and governance minister Mohamed Najib Boulif said.
"Once talks are concluded and the political decision is taken, it will be launched," he added.
Morocco plans to replace the current subsidy system with monthly cash payments of 1,000 dirhams to as many as two million of the most needy families; if the reform goes ahead in full, this could reduce the annual bill to 24 billion dirhams.-Reuters