Speech of His Majesty the King on the occasion of the first session of the fourth legislative year of the tenth legislature
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Members of Parliament,
It gives me great pleasure to preside over the opening of the fourth session of the current parliamentary term, and to meet, once again, with the nation’s representatives.
This parliamentary year should be placed under the motto of responsibility and hard work, since we are halfway through the current parliamentary term.
This means the present legislative session is quite some time away from the contentious debates that usually characterize the election period.
For this reason, I think this legislative session should be used properly by parliamentarians to shoulder the responsibility citizens have entrusted them with, and compete to serve the citizens’ interests and the nation’s causes.
As Members of Parliament, you are also expected to make sure your efforts are commensurate with the requirements of the new phase, which I outlined in the last State of the Nation Address.
You will recall that I laid special emphasis on the most important economic and development challenges involved in this phase. It is, therefore, the duty of politicians – the government, parliament and political parties in particular – to provide for the conditions needed to rise successfully to the above-mentioned challenges.
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
The new phase starts now. It requires not just the involvement of all, but also greater confidence and cooperation, and more unity, mobilization and vigilance, free from any pointless disputes, or wasting of time and energy.
One of the top priorities of this phase is to implement reforms and follow up on decisions and project execution.
This is basically the mission of the executive and the legislative branches.
It is also the responsibility of the private sector, particularly when it comes to funding – not to mention the important role dedicated civil society organizations should play.
The government is required to lay down well-thought-out plans, involving good preparatory work, careful implementation and continuous monitoring of decisions and projects, be it at the national, regional or local level.
Since the administrative apparatus is put at its disposal, the government should tap all means available to it, especially statistical data and inspection and control mechanisms, in order to guarantee the efficient implementation of decisions, making sure stakeholders work with one another in a transparent, harmonious way.
In this regard, there can be no shirking of responsibility, especially if the principle of public accountability is strictly enforced.
As far as parliament is concerned, the Constitution has given it broad powers in the field of legislation, oversight of the government and assessment of public policy.
As Members of Parliament, you are responsible for the quality of the laws passed to implement projects and decisions on the ground, making sure they are attuned to the pulse of society, fulfil the citizens’ aspirations and address their concerns.
It is also your responsibility to monitor government action concerning all matters relating to the management of public affairs, and to determine to what extent government action is responding to the real concerns of the citizens.
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
No matter how appropriate the decisions are, and regardless of the quality of the projects planned, implementation will always hinge on the availability of resources.
For this reason, I have always insisted on the sound preparation of programs and projects, especially matters relating to funding and to the settlement of real estate issues.
Needless to say, government efforts alone will not suffice in this regard. This means the private sector should be involved in the development process.
I am referring, in particular, to the banking and financial sector, which is at the centre of any development endeavour.
Implementing projects and decisions, and ensuring follow-up to them, involves more that just the signing of contracts and agreements. It is, above all, a moral contract involving reason as much as conscience.
This is a matter of shared responsibility for all the stakeholders concerned. Each party is duty-bound to fulfil its obligations and honour its commitments.
Such a contract does not involve government institutions and elected officials alone. The private sector – especially financial institutions and the banking sector – is also concerned.
Thank God, Morocco has a vibrant, robust, professional banking sector which contributes to the resilience and development of our economy.
Morocco’s financial system is subject to strict regulatory controls undertaken by independent and competent national institutions.
This enhances trust in our banking sector and reinforces its credibility, both domestically and abroad.
Thanks to the progress it has achieved, our banking sector has been able to invest in a number of foreign countries, especially in Africa.
Nevertheless, several segments of society still have a negative perception of the banking sector, as if banks were only interested in quick, guaranteed profit.
This is evidenced, for example, by the difficulty young entrepreneurs have in obtaining loans, and by the limited financial support provided to graduates and for the creation of small and medium sized enterprises.
I am fully aware of the fact that it is difficult to change certain mind-sets within the banking sector. You will recall, in this regard, that I stressed the need to change mentalities in the civil service and to put an end to behaviour that impedes development and investment.
I therefore urge our banking sector to show greater commitment and to be more effectively involved in the country’s development dynamic, particularly with regard to financing investment projects and support for productive activities that create jobs and generate income.
In this respect, and in addition to the financial support they give to large businesses and companies, I am calling on banks to play a greater social role in promoting development, especially by simplifying and facilitating access to loans, by being more open to self-employment projects and by financing the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises.
To this end, I ask the government and the Moroccan Central Bank to coordinate with the Professional Group of Moroccan Banks in order to develop a special program to provide financial support to young graduates and fund small self-employment projects.
Indeed, a number of institutions have had a successful experience in financing projects developed by young people and facilitating their integration into social and professional life.
Such projects have had a positive impact on the young people concerned, their families and the community.
This plan, whose various phases I will be monitoring with the government and the parties concerned, should be based on the following:
• Firstly: enable as many young, qualified project holders as possible, from various social backgrounds, to obtain bank loans in order to launch their projects, and provide assistance to make the plan as successful as possible;
• Secondly: give financial support to export-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises, especially those trading with Africa, and enable them to benefit from the value added offered by the national economy;
• Thirdly: facilitate public access to banking services and to opportunities for professional and economic integration, particularly for people involved in the informal sector.
I do not think one needs to point out that economic activity hinges mostly on the development of banking services.
I applaud the results achieved in this area over the past two decades, given that the number of citizens who opened a bank account has increased threefold.
Banks are therefore expected to keep up efforts and invest in modern technology and innovative financial services to increase the number of Moroccans who have access to financing and banking services, thereby serving the interests of banks as well as those of the citizens in a balanced and equitable way and contributing to development.
However, this plan will not achieve its goals without the effective involvement of the citizens, who should shoulder their responsibilities and honour their loan terms and conditions.
Likewise, financial regulatory and control institutions and mechanisms should monitor the various operations involved, and make sure there is a balanced, trust-based relationship between finance institutions and borrowers.
Naturally, I need to point out, in this regard, the social responsibility of financial institutions, and the need for them to contribute to constructive initiatives, whether they concern social and humanitarian issues, the preservation of the environment or the promotion of sustainable development.
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
Building a country that is committed to progress and development and that responds to the concerns and aspirations of the citizens requires all stakeholders to take concerted action.
From this podium, I should like to call on the legislative institution you represent as well as on the executive branch and the private sector – especially the banking sector – to be actively involved in this national development endeavour and ensure the success of the new phase we are embarking upon.
I therefore want you to rise to the occasion, show a keen sense of responsibility and commitment and put the nation’s best interests above all other considerations, for the good of the country and the people.
Almighty God says: “O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Apostle, and make not vain your deeds!”. True is the Word of God.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh".