Business Corruption in Morocco
Morocco enjoys macroeconomic stability with low inflation, a large reserve of foreign exchange and diminishing foreign debt. Although the country performed better than others in the region, Morocco experienced economic instability and political unrest through 2012, according to Freedom House 2013. Morocco is highly accommodating to foreign and domestic investment, and the government is making continuous efforts to improve the investment climate, for example, by streamlining paperwork in connection with investment. Nonetheless, the country still faces a number of socio-political challenges. One of these is the occurrence of corruption, petty and grand, in virtually all sectors, including the country's political life. Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane was cited on 5 December 2013 as explaining that Morocco must admit that it has not achieved desired corruption results, according to an 11 December 2013 article by Magharebia. Companies doing business in Morocco should be aware of the following corruption developments:
- The legal framework concerning corruption, transparency and integrity seems to be in place, and the regulatory system itself is becoming increasingly transparent.
- In December 2012, the government launched an anti-corruption awareness campaign aiming to raise anti-corruption awareness among the public as well as to enhance the government's role in the fight against corruption.
- In 2011, Parliament passed a landmark law to protect whistleblowers as well as trial witnesses and experts. The same year also saw the passage of the Freedom of Information Act.
- In October 2010, Morocco's government unveiled a two-year anti-corruption plan, which includes over 40 new anti-graft measures, such as asset declarations for top state officials, government protection of whistleblowers, and channels for the public to report graft and extortion by government officials.
However, the country still faces challenges in curbing corruption. Challenges include:
- Foreign as well as Moroccan entrepreneurs identify corruption as a large obstacle to investment in Morocco and remain sceptical with regard to the effectiveness of the government’s efforts to fight corruption
- The royal family and well-connected individuals control large companies and are likely to win public procurement tenders.
- Allegations persist that companies owned by highly influential persons are rarely disciplined by regulatory agencies if they infringe investment regulations, and that regulations shown to jeopardise the entrenched interests of the higher circles of political and economic power are disregarded.
- Prosecutions of corruption cases have been accused of targeting only petty corruption. Also high profile cases and cases where the misdeeds were shown to result from the government's style of governance have been promptly halted in order to avoid political embarrassment.
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