Written by 2:38 pm Economy

Moroccan MPs criticize government over rising prices, market chaos

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Finance Minister Nadia Fettah faced strong criticism from MPs regarding what they called uncontrolled price hikes and the lack of market oversight, on Monday during the weekly oral question session in parliament.

Concerns were raised about the emergence of price conflict in essential food items amidst the government’s seemingly insufficient efforts to combat the inflation affecting Moroccan markets.

Opposition member Khaddouj Slassi, member of the Socialist group in the House of Representatives, said that there is growing distress among Moroccans due to escalating prices, particularly for basic necessities. 

Slassi questioned the effectiveness of the government’s strategies to counteract rising prices, regulate intermediaries, and ensure consistent and rigorous price monitoring.

Expressing doubt about the government’s justifications linking price increases to inflation, exports, and financial balances, the parliemantarien said that “Moroccans are a smart and patient people.” 

The MP warned that the fear of hunger might overshadow their tolerance and urged the government to address the situation proactively, notwithstanding the challenges faced on the streets.

On a different note, Malika Akhechkhouch, a member of the Progress and Socialism team, criticized the government for what she perceived as inadequate measures to tackle market inflation. 

The parliamentarian said  that the government’s proclaimed measures existed only in rhetoric, while the reality revealed the suffering of Moroccans grappling with high prices and market disorder.

Akhechkhouch further added that the government is reluctant to deploy provisions of the competition law to cap prices on items experiencing exorbitant increases. 

The MP also criticized the government’s hesitation to use fiscal tools to strengthen the purchasing power of Moroccans, which has reportedly witnessed a concerning decline.

The same source added that  the government’s monitoring and punitive actions against violators are limited. She said that it’s entirely unacceptable for the government to stand by without any action as the concept of price freedom verges on chaos in determining market prices.

Responding to the parliamentary critique, Nadia Fettah acknowledged the rise in prices for consumer goods in the national market, saying that it’s due to both internal and external factors. 

Fettah assured parliamentarians that citizens’ welfare remains a top priority for the government, and that there are ongoing efforts to address various crises.

The minister drew attention to the significant financial support dedicated to sustaining basic food items over the last three years, especially the support for the agricultural production chain affected by water scarcity. 

Fettah also pointed to exceptional support for road transport to ease pressure on highly demanded food items in national markets.

The minister concluded her response by assuring  parliamentarians that all government sectors responsible for monitoring are actively making significant efforts. In 2023 alone, over 312,000 sales points were monitored, 15,000 violations were identified, and 3,300 received warnings.

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