Morocco PM vows direct grants of cash to the poor
Morocco PM vows direct grants of cash to the poorJune 08, 2012
ReutersRABAT: Morocco’s Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane on Wednesday promised direct grants of cash to the poor under a planned reform of the costly subsidy system, after his government imposed last week one of the sharpest rises in fuel prices in several years.
Benkirane invited needy Moroccans to open bank and postal accounts to ensure they benefit from the reform, one of the boldest moves taken by his government, led since January by Justice and Development, a moderate and former opposition party.
On May 29, General Affairs and Governance Minister Najib Boulif said the subsidy reform would take place before end-June amid worsening economic indicators and pressing demands for jobs and less poverty.
Speaking to state television channels, Benkirane however has not fixed a precise timeframe for the completion of the reform, saying only the “gradual” process may be completed before the end of his government’s mandate, due towards the end of 2016.
“The subsidy fund was set up to help the poor and the needy. We are going ahead with the reform of the subsidy fund. We will seek to fix the expenditure on the subsidy fund and directly send that (money) to the needy people.”
“To do this, I will need statistics — which I will eventually have — and Moroccans will need ID cards, (they need to be) poor and vulnerable and have a bank or post account,” said Benkirane, who seldom allows state television reporters to ask questions.
“This (subsidy) fund has to benefit those who need it the most to restore some social balance. This is not the case today. For fuel subsidies, the poor benefit six times less than the wealthy,” Benkirane said.
Benkirane said the increase in fuel prices was essential because budgeted subsidy spending would have otherwise increased by 26 billion dirhams to 58 billion dirhams.