Ekonomske analize
Morocco

Morocco

Population 33.5 million
GDP 3002 US$
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Synthesis

MAJOR MACRO ECONOMIC INDICATORS

  2014 2015 2016(f) 2017(f)
GDP growth (%) 2.6 4.5 1.5 4.1
Inflation (yearly average) (%) 0.4 1.5 1.3 1.3
Budget balance (% GDP) -4.9 -4.3 -3.5 -3.0
Current account balance (% GDP) -5.6 -1.9 -1.2 -1.4
Public debt (% GDP) 63.4 64.0 64.4 63.7

(e) Estimate   (f) Forecast

STRENGTHS

  • A favourable geographical position, close to the European market
  • Strategy to move upscale and diversify production in automotive, aeronautics, electronics, offshoring, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles/leather and agri-food
  • Macroeconomic stability policy
  • Political stability and commitment to reforms

WEAKNESSES

  • Economy very dependent on performances in the agricultural sector
  • Significant social and regional disparities
  • The poverty rate remains high even though it is falling
  • Weakness in productivity and competitiveness
  • High unemployment rate 

RISK ASSESSMENT

Recovery in growth in 2017 after a clear slowdown in 2016

After an exceptional year in 2015, a lack of rainfall led to a decline in agricultural production in 2016 causing a sharp slowdown in the Moroccan economy. Although non-agricultural GDP growth remained dynamic, it did not make up for the negative contribution from the primary sector to activity. Consumer demand nevertheless remained resilient whereas agricultural sector accounts for 40% of the active population. Investment was the main engine behind activity. Growth is set to pick up clearly during 2017. A good harvest season in 2017 should enable a significant increase in agricultural GDP whereas growth in non-agricultural GDP should continue at a modest pace following on from 2016. The manufacturing sector should benefit from the rise in productive investment in 2016, resulting in an increase in capital goods. The automotive sector should benefit from the slight recovery in Europe as should phosphates, which will post better performances than in 2016 in a less strained global market. Growth in services is expected to be more mixed, with activity in trade services and communications likely to be robust in response to dynamic consumer demand driven by an increase in credit and higher remittance from Moroccan diaspora. Inflation is likely to remain modest enabling the central bank to implement an inflation targeting policy which would go hand in hand with a reform of the exchange rate regime toward a more flexible system in H2 2017.

 

Public deficit in decline and current deficit set to stabilise

The consolidation of public finances following on from the IMF’s aid programme has favoured a rebalancing of the public accounts. The reform of subsidies indeed helped massively reduce current spending, helping to structurally lighten the state budget. In addition, the decline in the public deficit has stemmed from the fall in current spending and an increase in public revenues, especially the rise in customs revenues and domestic taxation. After narrowing in 2016, the public deficit should continue to fall in 2017. The time taken to form a government should not change the implementation of a 2017 finance law. Economic growth combined with better collection of taxes should benefit revenues. Investment spending should continue with a rise in investments under the framework of the green Morocco plan as well as in the renewable energies sectors and education. The ratio of public debt to GDP remains high but should fall in 2017. The consolidation of public finances and better management of debt should indeed lead to a change in the debt trajectory.

In 2017, Morocco should continue to benefit from low oil prices enabling it to maintain a low energy balance albeit slightly higher than in 2016. The slight recovery in Europe should add weight to growth in exports for the automotive and aeronautics sectors. The services balance should be in surplus thanks to the performances expected in the telecoms sector, although it is likely to remain limited by the prospect of a decline in the tourism sector. FDI should maintain its level of growth in 2017.

The banking sector should remain profitable and well capitalised. Doubtful loans are continuing to rise in the textiles, property and maritime transport sectors but they remain well-provisioned for. Credit should continue to stimulate investment moderately in 2017 with a recovery expected in corporate loans.

 

JDP to be continued following legislative elections in 2016

Legislative elections in October 2016 renewed the Justice and Development Party led by former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane as the leading political representation in the assembly. The former prime minister was requested to create a new government on the basis of a new coalition in October 2016.

With the aim of preserving its attractiveness, Morocco will have to continue reforms enabling an improvement and cleaning up of the business environment especially concerning the simplification of administrative procedures associated with the promotion of investment and modernisation of the legal framework. The country has also been particularly active in the African continent and is considering reintegrating the African union. In December 2016, the King of Morocco ended an important diplomatic tour in Africa with the aim of strengthening his presence in the continent. Finally, the country was particularly active on the international front, hosting the COP22 in Marrakech in November 2016. 

 

Last update : January 2017

Payment

 

Cheques are still commonly used as instrument of payment and also constitute efficient debt recognition titles: debtors may be prosecuted if they fail to pay the amount owed. Bills of exchange also constitute an attractive means of payment, because they are a source of short-term financing by means of discounting, installment, or transfer.

 

Promissory notes are used to record the financial details of personal debts, business debts and real estate transactions. They are legally binding contracts that can be used in a court of law if the debtor defaults. A promissory note acts as solid evidence of an agreed payment, and subsequently debt in case of dispute.

 

Nevertheless, bank transfers are becoming the most popular means of payment for both domestic and international transactions.

 

Debt collection

Amicable phase

Debt collection must begin with an attempt to reach an amicable settlement. Creditors attempt to contact their debtors through different means (telephone calls, written reminders such as formal letters, emails or extrajudicial notifications, etc.). Amicable settlement negotiations can be intense, and cover aspects such as the number of payment installments, write-offs, guarantees/collateral, and grace period interest. Moroccan law states that a lawyer can acknowledge the signature of the debtor via payment plans, which are signed, certified, and legalized by the competent authorities in Morocco. The creditors’ lawyer can subsequently use this payment agreement as debt recognition in case of legal action.

 

Legal proceedings

Morocco has a dual legal system that consists of secular courts based on French legal tradition and courts based on Islamic traditions. The appointments in brackets are written in French because they are the own appointments of different courts in Morocco.

 

Secular courts includes proximity courts (juridictions de proximité) in charge of settling disputes between individuals, Courts of First Instance (tribunaux de première instance) dealing with all civil matters, Commercial Courts dealing with business disputes, Appellate Courts (Cours d’Appel) dealing with civil and administrative matters, and a Court of Cassation (Cour de Cassation).

 

There are 27 Sadad Courts, which are courts of first instance for Muslim and Jewish personal law.

 

Fast-track proceedings

The order to pay is available when the debt has a contractual cause or the obligation is of a statutory origin. It is characterized by a petition form sent to the relevant clerk of the court. The debt must be certain, liquid (i.e. clean and clear), due, and uncontested. An enforceable order to pay is obtained within an average delivery time of six months, unless the defendant lodges an opposition against the ruling. In the defendant opposes the order within one month of being served, the case is referred to ordinary proceedings.

 

Ordinary proceedings

A writ of summons is sent by the creditor’s representative to the relevant court and served by a bailiff to the debtor, who may subsequently obtain legal representation in the period prescribed by the judge and file a counter claim. Several hearings may be required for the exchange of written submissions, transmissions of documents and to produce the relevant evidence.

 

The main hearing is set by the judge to hear the presentation of the pleadings. Discussions and pleadings are conducted by the judge during the public hearing. The case is then taken under deliberation to allow judges to discuss the means, grounds, and pronouncement that make up the content of the judgment. After the sitting of the judgers, a reasoned judgment is rendered. It can usually be obtained within an average delivery time of one year.

 

Enforcement of a court decision

Once all appeal venues have been exhausted, a judgment becomes final and enforceable. Garnishee orders are normally efficient for seizing and selling the debtor’s assets.

 

According to Moroccan law, commercial courts are obliged to recognize judgments rendered abroad, even if there is no convention signed for this purposes with the issuing country. In order to be recognized and enforced, the original copy of the foreign judgment must be provided to the court with a certificate of non-appeal.

 

When a foreigner gets final judgment that they want to enforce in Morocco and, if not, when seeking enforcement of a Moroccan judgment abroad, they must follow exequatur proceedings.

There are two enforcement procedures. The first is uniquely Moroccan, whereas the second is fixed by judicial bilateral agreement between Morocco and other countries, including Germany, Belgium, the United States of America, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, France, Italy and Libya

 

Insolvency proceedings

Insolvency proceedings are regulated by Book V of the Commercial Code. It provides for prevention of difficulties (alert procedure and amicable settlement procedure) as well as formal insolvency procedures (judicial rehabilitation proceedings and judicial liquidation proceedings).

 

Alert procedure

Businesses are compelled to work towards the internal prevention of their financial difficulties and recovery with the aim of maintaining their activity. The alert procedure is initiated by a business’ auditors or partners (external auditors hired by the company to rectify the financial situation), who are required to notify the manager of the business of any opportunities to redress the situation within eight days. If no steps are taken to remedy the situation within fifteen days, a general assembly must be convened to take a decision on how to redress the situation based on the auditor’s report.

 

Amicable settlement procedure

Amicable settlement procedures can only be implemented by a commercial company, trader, or artisan, who is experiencing financial difficulties but is not yet cash flow insolvent. Once initiated, the debtor is placed under the supervision of the Court. The Court subsequently appoints an external mediator for a limited period of three months to assist the debtor in reaching an agreement with its creditors. A settlement can be reached with all creditors or the debtor’s “main creditors”. Creditors are entitled to their entire claim, but the mediator may propose an arrangement or creditors may assign a portion of the debt if they so wish. Once approved by the Court, all judicial proceedings relating to debts covered by the agreement are suspended for the duration of the amicable settlement agreement.   

 

Judicial rehabilitation proceedings

This insolvency procedure is only available for debtors that have become insolvent (état de cessation de paiement), but whose financial situation is not irreparably compromised. An insolvency judge and an office holder (the person appointed by the court as part of an insolvency or liquidation; also acts as the syndicate) are appointed by the court. During the process, the debtor and its management remain in possession of the company’s assets and the debtor continues its business. The rehabilitation procedure can result in either the reorganization of the debtor’s business or its liquidation. The office holder is required to prepare a report on the situation of the company within four months from the opening of the proceedings. In his report, the office holder will either recommend a rehabilitation plan for the debtor, the sale of the business, or liquidation. The court is then required to reach a decision on the fate of the debtor, based on the report. There is no direct vote by the creditors on the options available to the debtor during the procedure.

 

Judicial liquidation proceedings

The judgment initiating the procedure makes all the debts immediately due and payable, the creditors within a period of two months must present their claims. Moroccan creditors have two months to submit their declarations; creditors residing abroad have a period of four months. Liquidation proceedings may terminate prematurely before a distribution in liquidation if:

  • the debtor has no more debt, or
  • the office holder has sufficient funds to pay all the creditors in their entirety, or
  • the debtor does not have enough assets to cover the costs of the liquidation procedure.

Under Moroccan law, there are no specific rules on the priority of claims in the event of insolvency. Nevertheless, there are some privileged creditors such as: the employees, the public treasury, the social agencies, the creditors of a collective conciliation, finally the unsecured creditors. 

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