TBY talks to Mehdi Tazi, General Vice-Président of CGEM, about the aims of the organization, the Moroccan New Development model (NDM), and the country's new government.

What is the mission of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises of Morocco?

Created 74 years ago, the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) has established itself as the official representative of the private sector to public authorities, social partners, national and international institutions. The Confederation gathers today more than 90.000 members through its 37 sectoral federations and 13 CGEM Regions. CGEM ensures that the voice of the Moroccan private sector is heard on multiple subjects such as taxation, financing, business environment, social dialogue and climate change, particularly through the CGEM-Government work platform and its parliamentary group within the House of Councillors. It also played a key role in supporting the survival of Moroccan businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of its mission within the Economic Watch Committee. On an international level, CGEM works, through its 60 bilateral business councils, to promote and create opportunities for national companies in foreign markets, and contributes to the promotion of Morocco as an investment destination and a hub for Africa.

CGEM speaks on behalf of more than 90,000 direct and affiliated members. What were your actions to assist businesses during the pandemic?

Since the first case of Covid-19 contamination, Morocco's public and private sectors mobilized quickly and concretely to manage the crisis. This quick and efficient response, under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, has been widely hailed internationally. The Economic Watch Committee (CVE), of which CGEM is a member, was created to support companies operating in sectors suffering because of the pandemic. It has put in place several support measures including an unemployment compensation, the postponement of key deadlines (social, tax and loan payments), the launch of adapted loan products such as “Damane Oxygène” and “Damane Relance”. It has also established program contracts to help businesses operating in the sectors that were severely affected by the crisis (tourism operators, caterers, entertainment centers, childcare facilities, media...). Apart from the CVE, CGEM has played a major role in the management of the crisis by developing a participatory and integrated recovery plan; by making strong recommendations for the amended 2020 Finance Law and the 2021 Finance Law and by coordinating the massive screening campaign among companies of the private sector. Today, we have moved to a new level in the management of the pandemic, through a large and well-coordinated vaccination campaign. A third dose is being administered at the moment.

CGEM has prepared a White Book for the implementation of the Moroccan New Development model (NDM) What exactly is it about?

Aware of its central role in building a prosperous and inclusive society, CGEM mobilized very early on to elaborate the private sector's vision for the Moroccan New Development model (NDM), presented to the members of the Special Commission on the Development Model (SCDM) in February 2020. As implementation has now begun, we also wanted to contribute to this phase in a positive, participatory and constructive approach. In this spirit, we have launched CGEM's White Book that proposes concrete implementation measures to enable our country to achieve a steady and sustainable growth generating added value and job opportunities for Moroccans. This book, which is structured around a set of articles, is also a platform for all the confederation's dynamic forces—Federations, CGEM Regions, Commissions and Parliamentary Group—to share their visions on various economic and social issues.

What are CGEM's priorities in this White Book?

Through the white book, CGEM sets out its priorities, as part of a comprehensive approach, while it provides concrete implementation measures related to each topic covered, whether they were sector-specific or cross-functional. Ten transformative initiatives have emerged from the work conducted, covering varied topics such as innovative financing mechanisms to overcome undercapitalization; promotion of MSMEs through a dedicated business act; reviewing the public procurement codes to enable for a stronger local industry; a step-change in competitiveness through the optimization of key production factors - i.e. liberalization of the energy sector, consolidation of logistics players, a new approach to re-skilling & up-skilling, and a stronger and more efficient regulatory state and governance.

We know that Morocco has had a new government for the past few weeks. Are these ten priorities in line with the government's program?

We believe the new government's program is ambitious and full of challenges ranging from the establishment of stronger social equity to stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. The priorities we have suggested within our White Book are fully in line with the announced plan from the government—and we remain committed to work hand in hand with the government in implementing these priorities. We strongly believe that, for it to be a success, our partnership needs to be reinforced through an honest debate, the composition of strategic sectoral taskforces, and a results-oriented approach, where we will pilot projects within a defined range of actions and scale upon success. The private sector expects to see rapid actions towards a favorable business climate that will reinstate trust within the economic fabric of our nation.