Moroccan economy growth falls to 1.6% in 2016: minister

2017-01-28 20:56
Morocco flag. (iStock)

Morocco flag. (iStock)

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Rabat - Morocco's economy grew by 1.6% in 2016, down from the previous year's 4.5% because of a poorly performing agricultural sector, Economy and Finance Minister Mohamed Boussaid said Friday.

He attributed this "deceleration" mainly to a "very important fall" in the production of cereal crops.

"2006 was the driest year in the past three decades," Boussaid said, adding however that "the 70% drop in cereal production was partly offset by a very good performance of other agricultural products".

Agriculture remains the main contributor to the North African country's Gross Domestic Product, ahead of both tourism and manufacturing.

Last year's decline in growth had been anticipated both by the government and international financial institutions.

The International Monetary Fund estimated in December that Moroccan growth would be between 1.5% and 2% in 2016, but that it would rebound in 2017 to about 4.4%.

Exports from the automotive, aeronautics and electronics and textile and agri-food sectors nevertheless recorded an overall increase of 9.2%, and tourism revenues rose by 3.5%.

Boussaid said the budget deficit "has continued its downward trajectory to be around 3.9% of GDP".

The minister also spoke about SAMIR, the country's sole oil refinery, which ceased operating in August 2015 after being unable to honour debts amounting to several billion euros.

In March last year, a court ordered that SAMIR (Moroccan and Italian Refining Ltd) be put into liquidation after efforts to resolve its debts with creditors failed.

"The state is following this case very closely, and a team dedicated to following it up has been established under the supervision of the customs and tax administration," Boussaid said.

But the state "cannot intervene in a case that is still in the hands of the legal system," he said.

Read more on:    morocco  |  north africa

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