Mohamed Benchaaboun Appointed Minister of Economy & Finance

King Mohammed VI has appointed Mohamed Benchaaboun as Minister of Economy and Finance in replacement of Mohamed Boussaid who had been sacked on August 1.

The royal office announced in a statement that the King received Benchaaboun on Monday at the Royal Palace in Rabat and appointed him Minister of Economy and Finance.

The King appointed Benchaaboun at the proposal of Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, in accordance with the provisions of Article 47 of the Constitution.

Benchaaboun, current Chairman and Managing Director of Morocco’s Banque Centrale Populaire, hails from the same RNI party as his predecessor.

Major reforms await the new Economy & Finance Minister, starting with the appropriation bill, as he will have to lead discussions for a 2019 budget that is elaborated in difficult conditions marked by a potential rise in oil prices and unfavorable international climate marked by sluggish growth in the EU, Morocco’s main trading partner.

The new economy and finance minister will also have to tackle the issue of the gradual dirham liberalization. Although the reform has so far shown the good health of the Moroccan financial system, a future expansion of the trading band for the dirham is an issue that requires careful thought and strengthening of Morocco’s economy, notably exports.

The appointment also comes as the Parliament is about to make a decision on the reform of the status of Bank Al Maghrib. The reform has been designed to give the central bank more autonomy.

The Royal office statement also announced that King Mohammed VI agreed to a proposal by El Othmani to abolish the Secretariat of State in charge of Water and to transfer and integrate all its responsibilities within the structures and prerogatives of the Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics, and Water.

According to the statement, this decision aims to improve the governance of water projects and their effectiveness and efficiency and to reinforce complementarity between the ministry’s various water departments.

The monarch, who devotes special importance to the issue of water, underscored in the Throne Day speech he delivered on July 29, the importance of water and its preservation.

He called on the Government and institutions concerned to take urgent measures and muster all the means required to deal with emergencies that arise from a lack of access to drinking water and to water for irrigation and livestock, especially during the summer.

The national water plan should address the various issues relating to water resources for the next 30 years, he said stressing the need to maintain the dams building policy and insisting that water “plays a fundamental role in development and stability.”

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