COVID-19: concerns revolving around the current economic juncture

COVID-19: concerns revolving around the current economic juncture


individualAmid the dire juncture witnessed around the globe, the Moroccan Government took an array of strategic decisions to anticipate the spread of COVID-19, not only measures that endeavor to protect the health of citizens, but also moving one step ahead with social initiatives that aim to curb the current unemployment crisis.

As of today, nobody has a clear vision of how much time is needed to resume our normal life and activities, as many are switching to work from home, while others were forced to wait, amid the shutdown of many businesses. What is sadly noticed is that workforce is not on the priority list for many companies in the country, and this is something that the government needs to put more focus on and control during this crisis.

On the 1st of April, the Minister of Employment and Professional Integration, Mr. Mohamed Amekraz, declared that more than 700.000 people were furloughed, from over 113.000 companies. Said employees will benefit from a social security fund (CNSS) scheme allocating a fixed stipend of 2.000 MAD ($200) per month to each of them. But this is problematic for the country, as, first of all, the number of recipients is higher than what the crisis committee had initially anticipated, with 430.000 employees suspended between March and June 2020. More than that, the CNSS stipend is ridiculously low compared to the cost of living in Morocco, as stated in the latest report of Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) in January 2020, exactly 30% lower than the minimum wage.

The question here is how good is the crisis committee in managing the situation and is there enough control from the government regarding deciding which companies are eligible to apply for the aforementioned scheme.

According to the Moroccan labor code, there are different ways to handle this crisis, part of them is to reduce the salary by a maximum of 50% for a period not exceeding 60 days per year. In fact, several companies opted for this option in this time of uncertainty, while others rushed into cutting off their employees’ benefits and saw in this crisis a golden opportunity to get rid of any expenses, regardless of the negative social impact and the eventual consequences of such unethical decision.

The government should keep its initiatives on track by running continuous eligibility screening on the decisions taken by Moroccan companies. This should happen immediately and not after the folding of the crisis, as a rising number of employees are going through arguably the most stressful experience of their entire career due to COVID-19. Companies should care first about their employees because they are undoubtedly key factors to their successful recovery, and by extension to the recovery of the Moroccan economy in the post-math of the pandemic.

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Mouad Achab
Mouad Achhab has several years of both practical and academic experience in the tourism and hospitality sectors, especially in the fields of public-private partnerships and events coordination. He is currently working as a Human Ressources Manager of the prospective Ritz-Carlton Rabat, Dar Es Salam. Previous duties include leading the Learning and Development department of Hilton Hotels in Morocco, the organization of The United Nations World Tourism Organization regional tourism certificates in Africa with UNWTO, among various other responsibilities held in Madrid, Spain.