Morocco yet to ask IMF for cash a year after $3 billion precautionary and liquidity line was approved Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 27, 2021

Morocco is yet to collect any cash from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a year after $3 billion Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) was approved by the IMF’s Executive Board on December 17, 2018.

The IMF made the disclosure in a statement on Friday after its Executive Board completed the second review of the arrangement. Morocco’s PLL will expire on December 16, 2020.

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The PLL provides financing to meet actual or potential balance of payments needs of countries with sound policies, and is intended to serve as insurance and help resolve crises.

The two-year arrangement aims to support Morocco’s economy’s resilience and promote higher and more inclusive growth.

The latest PLL is Morocco’s fourth arrangement with the IMF in seven years. The Moroccan government considers PLL precautionary.

The IMF approved Morocco’s first PLL arrangement in August 2012 for $6.2 billion, and the second PLL for $5 billion was approved in July 2014. The third one for $3.5 billion was approved in July 2016.

Attac Maroc has argued that Morocco has not used any of the lines but has incurred costs estimated at MAD 720 million.

On Friday, IMF said Morocco’s economic activity, which weakened in 2019 due to a contraction in agricultural output, is expected to accelerate gradually over the medium term.

“Morocco has made significant strides in strengthening the resilience of its economy in recent years. In 2019, economic activity has weakened due to a contraction in agricultural output, while inflation remains low. The external position is expected to improve only modestly, and fiscal consolidation has slowed down due in part to weaker-than-expected tax revenues and increased public wage spending,” said Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF and acting board chair.

“Looking ahead, growth is expected to accelerate gradually over the medium term. However, the outlook remains subject to downside risks, including potential delays in reform implementation and the external environment. In this context, the PLL arrangement continues to provide valuable insurance against external risks and support the authorities’ economic policies,” Furusawa added.

According to him, the Moroccan authorities are committed to sustaining sound policies. The government’s economic program remains in line with key reforms agreed under the PLL arrangement, including to further reduce fiscal and external vulnerabilities, while strengthening the foundations for higher and more inclusive growth.

He added: “In light of the slowdown in fiscal consolidation, stepped up tax reforms and contained wage bill are needed to lower the public debt-to-GDP ratio while securing priority investment and social spending in the medium term. A decisive and comprehensive tax reform should aim to secure adequate revenues while bringing about greater equity and simplicity of the tax system. In addition, further improvements are needed in the efficiency and governance of the public sector, careful implementation of fiscal decentralization, strengthened state-owned enterprise oversight, and better targeting of social spending.

“The transition to greater exchange rate flexibility initiated last year would enhance the economy’s capacity to absorb shocks and preserve its external competitiveness. The current favorable economic environment continues to provide a window of opportunity to conduct this reform in a sequenced and well-communicated manner. Following the adoption of the central bank law, addressing weaknesses in the AML/CFT framework, and continuing to make the supervisory framework more risk-based and forward-looking will help further improve financial sector soundness.

“Building on recent progress in improving the business environment, sustained reforms are needed to raise potential growth and reduce high unemployment, especially among the youth, increase female labor participation, and reduce regional disparities. Reforms of education, governance, and the labor market should also contribute to more private sector-led growth and job creation.”

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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