King Mohammed VI of Morocco, accompanied by Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan, delivered, on Friday, a speech to the Parliament on the occasion of the opening of the first session of the second legislative year of the 11th legislature.
Full text of the Royal Speech:
“Praise be to God,
May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Honourable Members of Parliament,
The opening of Parliament, an occasion provided for in the Constitution, is not merely an opportunity to renew contact with the representatives of the nation. Rather, I see it as an important annual event to address the nation’s major issues, especially matters of priority.
Today, I have decided to focus on two important questions:
– The first one concerns the problem of water, the pressing challenges it poses today and others that could surface in the future.
– As for the second question, it relates to the qualitative leap forward that needs to be made in the promotion of investment.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Almighty God said: “We made from water every living thing”. True is the Word of God.
Water is the source of all life. It is an essential ingredient in the development process, and it is critical for all projects and productive sectors.
Hence, it has become urgent to address the water resource management issue, especially as Morocco is experiencing a period of severe drought – the most serious in more than three decades.
We pray that Almighty God bless our country with beneficial rainfall.
To face up to this situation, we have taken a series of preemptive measures, since last February, under the plan to combat the effects of drought. The aim is to make sure drinking water is available, to provide assistance to farmers and to safeguard the livestock.
Realizing the structural nature of this phenomenon in our country, I have always devoted my full attention to all aspects relating to water.
Thus, several working sessions have been devoted to this issue, leading to the formulation of the 2020-2027 National Priority Program for Water.
Since my accession to the throne, I have keenly sought to continue the policy of building dams. More than 50 large and medium-sized dams have been built, and 20 more are under construction.
Regardless of the rainfall we may receive in the years ahead, I am keen to make sure we speed up the completion of the projects planned under this program, in all regions and corners of the Kingdom.
I am referring, in particular, to the completion of the construction of planned dams, the development of hydraulic interconnections and the construction of seawater desalination plants, as well as the implementation of a stronger water efficiency policy, especially in the area of irrigation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Morocco is not the only country facing the problem of drought and water scarcity. This issue has become a global phenomenon, one that is further compounded by climate change.
The current water resource situation challenges us all: government, institutions and citizens. It requires us to be frank and responsible in dealing with the issue and in addressing whatever inadequacies there may be.
Morocco is now in a situation of chronic water stress, and not all problems can be solved by simply building the water facilities planned, notwithstanding their great importance and of the need for them.
I therefore call for all aspects of the water issue to be addressed seriously, putting, in particular, an end to all forms of squandering and of irrational, irresponsible use of this vital resource.
Also, the water issue should not be exploited for political outbidding purposes, nor should it be used to stoke social tensions.
As Moroccans, we should all exert greater efforts to ensure rational, responsible use of water.
This requires a real change in our behavior regarding water. In this respect, public administrations and institutions should lead by example.
It is also necessary to ensure optimal management of the demand in light of the accomplishments made in mobilizing water resources.
In the medium term, we need to strengthen our proactive policies in the water sector and make up for lost time.
It is both our duty and our responsibility today to adopt sustainable, integrated policies, commit to the spirit of solidarity and ensure efficiency under the new national water plan, which should be implemented as soon as possible.
At this point, I should like to emphasize the following:
Firstly, we need to launch more ambitious programs and initiatives, and to leverage modern technology for water saving and wastewater reuse purposes.
Secondly, we have to pay special attention to the rational use of groundwater and preserve the water table by tackling illegal pumping and the erratic drilling of wells.
Thirdly, we should keep in mind that the water policy is not just a sectoral policy; rather, it lies at the intersection of a great many sectors.
This means we need to update sectoral strategies on a continuous basis, in light of the pressure on water resources and the future development of those resources.
Fourthly, the real cost of water needs to be taken into account at each stage of the water mobilization process, keeping in mind the need to be transparent and to raise awareness about all aspects relating to water costs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The second part of this address will concern the question of investment, a sector I care deeply about.
Today, we are counting on productive investment as a lever for boosting our economy and making sure our country engages in the promising sectors which provide job opportunities for young people as well as funding for various social and development programs.
I expect the new investment charter to significantly enhance Morocco’s attractiveness as far as both domestic and foreign investment is concerned.
This requires removing the obstacles that still prevent a real take-off of domestic investment at all levels.
Regional investment centers are expected to oversee the entire investment process; they should also improve the efficiency and quality of the services they provide in terms of accompanying and guiding project holders until the actual achievement of their projects.
In return, all the stakeholders concerned should provide regional investment centers with the support they need, both at the central and regional levels.
As regards the business environment, the structural reforms we have introduced have made it possible to improve Morocco’s image and standing in this respect.
Despite the results achieved, however, further efforts are still needed to unlock the nation’s full potential, encourage private initiative and attract greater foreign investment.
I should like, in this regard, to insist, once more, on the need to implement the administrative devolution charter in full, simplify and digitalize procedures, facilitate access to real estate as well as to green energies, and provide financial support to project holders.
To boost investor confidence in our country as a destination for profitable investment, I call for the rules of fair competition to be enhanced and for arbitration and mediation mechanisms to be resorted to in order to settle disputes in this area.
Since investment concerns all institutions as well as the private sector, I wish to insist on the need for everyone to be mobilized and commit to a keen sense of responsibility in order to promote this sector, which is of critical importance for our country’s development.
The strategic goal, in all this, is for the private sector to take its rightful place in the investment environment and be the real driving force behind our national economy.
Moroccan businesses and their national, regional and sectoral organizations are called upon to serve as a lever for the promotion of investment and entrepreneurship.
Similarly, the national banking and financial sector is expected to support and finance the new generation of investors and businesspeople, especially youths and small and medium enterprises.
In this regard, I invite you, once again, to pay particular attention to the investments made and the initiatives undertaken by the members of the Moroccan community abroad.
To achieve the desired goals, I have instructed the government to make sure, jointly with the private and banking sectors, that the commitments made by each party are fulfilled under a national investment contract scheme.
The latter aims to raise 550 billion dirhams for investment, and create 500,000 jobs between 2022 and 2026.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am sure you are aware of the role of Parliament in the areas of legislation, evaluation and oversight, be it with respect to the water and investment issues, or any question that is of concern to the nation and the citizens.
I pray that Almighty God assist you as you shoulder your tremendous national responsibility, especially in the current domestic circumstances and the global volatile environment.
I can think of no better way to conclude this address than the following words of the Almighty: “and (He) sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance”. True is the Word of God.