COVID19: Morocco Sets Up a $1 Billion Special Fund for Management of the Pandemic
Morocco which has so far recorded 18 cases of COVID19, will set up a $1 billion (10 billion DH) special fund for the management of the coronavirus pandemic. The Royal Office said in statement issued this Sunday that King Mohammed VI gave his high instructions to the government “to create immediately a special fund dedicated to the management of the Coronavirus pandemic.”
“The earmarked amounts are destined to cover the costs incurred by the upgrading of medical equipment, in terms of adapted infrastructure and purchase of additional devices that need to be urgently provided,” the statement explained.
The statement also added that the fund will serve “to support the national economy, through a series of measures that will be proposed by the government, particularly to support sectors most vulnerable to shocks induced by the Coronavirus crisis, such as the tourism sector, to preserve jobs and to mitigate the social repercussions of this crisis.”
Morocco has taken a series of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including cancelling trade, cultural, sporting, and artistic events. Morocco has also closed schools, universities and all educational institutions, and suspended all international flights to and from the country.
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It has already been stated that the pandemic, combined with this year’s drought, will impact Moroccan economy. The high commissioner for planning, Ahmed Lahlimi, said that Morocco’s economic growth could sink to as low as 2% in 2020 from a previous estimate of 3.5%.
As part of the efforts to anticipate the direct and indirect economic impact of the coronavirus, an Economic Monitoring Committee was set up last week to assess the impact of the pandemic. The committee will monitor closely the development of the economic situation through evaluation mechanisms and identify appropriate measures to provide support for the affected sectors.
The COVID19 pandemic has taken a toll on the tourism sector of Morocco, which is one area that the special fund seeks to cover. This sector is a key source of hard currency flow for the country accounting for 10% of its gross domestic product and Morocco attracted 13 million tourists in 2019, up 5.2% from a year earlier.
Other countries in the region have taken similar measures to support their economies. Central banks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia said on Sunday they were ready to intervene if necessary, as Gulf Arab states tightened travel and social curbs to contain the spread of the infection.
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