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2010-07-14

Pension reform reclaims Morocco centre stage

By Siham Ali for Magharebia in Rabat – 14/07/10

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The debate over pension reform in Morocco has begun again. Since the proposal was made in June to raise the retirement age to 62 starting next year, with the stated purpose of ensuring the pension fund's financial stability, public-sector workers and union leaders have voiced strong opposition.

According to Mohamed Hakech of the Moroccan Workers Union, the Moroccan Pension Fund governing council proposal runs contrary to the work of the technical committee that is examining the question of pension reform.

"On what basis are they going to apply a retirement age of 62 for public-sector workers?" he asked. "The technical committee has yet to hand in its work; this is a political proposal they're trying to impose on us."

The long-term solvency of Morocco's pension funds is at risk because the ratio of people working to those in retirement is changing in a demographic shift to an ageing population.

The Moroccan Labour Organisation claims that the government's move to extend the retirement age from 60 to 62 is intended to take money from private and public employees.

This accusation was rejected by Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, who told Parliament on June 29th that the special committee had not yet put the finishing touches on its conclusions.

Mezouar said the government promised to reform the pension system as soon as possible, as it will face serious financial difficulties as early as 2012 if not changed. He anticipated findings from the technical commission as early as September.

"They're looking at a number of different options at the moment, including grouping all the funds into one system or keeping the funds separate," he said. "After the debate on the report, the idea is to implement the reforms in 2011 or 2012."

The General Moroccan Business Confederation (CGEM) is against the proposal, which would see all the funds combined into a single system.

According to Work and Social Relations Committee vice chairman Abdelaziz Alaoui, this would lead to the private sector paying the costs of the public sector. He told the CGEM general assembly in Casablanca on June 24th that the public employees' retirement fund needs more than 500 million dirhams to resolve its problems by 2018.

Meanwhile, public concern is on the rise.

For 42-year-old Samir Bachiri, the idea of raising the retirement age is worrying. He said the public must be properly informed about the different possibilities if they are to understand and accept the decisions which are taken.

"In France, the debate about reforming the pension system has been open and public, and the people have been able to understand the issues involved in reform," he said. "In Morocco, they're keeping it all very vague."

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  1. Anonymous_thumb

    احمد (Libya) 2013-6-23

    I am a public protector of my dear nation. Can I carry out my duties to the age of 62 as of September 2013.

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    hassan 2011-9-30

    I am a teacher about to retire God willing. I appreciate the idea of raising retirement age from 60 to 62 because I am still capable of working, thank God!

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  3. Anonymous_thumb

    omare qualete 2011-6-15

    I am a retired worker. I have two words. The government must reconsider calculations with previous workers registered in this fund from A to Z. Then everything will be clear.

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    حميد 2011-5-11

    God is the most powerful!

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    عمر 2011-5-7

    Retirement is a farce in Morocco. The forgotten pensioner is not present on the government's agenda. The pensioner is dying in this country. He is still supporting a family and children at the age of schooling. The pensioner is not responsible for the action of his children in case they commit acts not accepted by society.

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    khadija 2010-7-23

    Having worked diligently for 38 years in education, I believe that I have positively participated in educating students and the construction of this country, which I love. I refused to join the movement for the voluntary resignation from my duties even though our colleagues’ departures forced us to work in their place to fill up the gaps. Now that retirement age is upon us, they tell us that we need to wait longer!?! Personally, I have no more strength!!! I think that we need to stop focusing on age alone and that other parameters need to be included, for example, those who have worked 39 or 40 years well deserve their retirement according to the old criteria. Otherwise, this will be like a second punishment, given that we stayed behind after the voluntary retirements with the huge pensions some of them got.

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    Essid 2010-7-20

    To Moroccan Patriot: You are alluding to discriminatory social services, and they work very poorly because the rich believe they pay more taxes (though in terms of the percentage of their income, they pay less), so they become angry when they receive no social benefits. In the case of universal social services, the rich enjoy the benefits, so even if they are unhappy with paying more taxes, they do understand the value of having them. This is why countries with universal social services have fewer political parties that oppose social welfare and fewer people who belong to those political parties. Take a look at the countries of Scandinavia, which have universal social healthcare: their opposition to social healthcare is only a fraction of what it is in Britain, which has a discriminatory system. Regarding healthcare, it is clear that it is far more cost effective to have a universal system, as poor health directly correlates to high crime rates, and high crime is more expensive due to the necessary penal and judicial structures necessary to deal with it. And, a preventative approach of improving peoples lives to deter crime rather than punitive approach after the crime is committed is moral. To translate this into pensions, universal pensions will better maintain the support of those averted to taxes, and the ability to spend money on goods and services other than the necessities to survive will allow more money to be diversified in the market, creating business opportunities and reducing unemployment. The real reason Morocco is having trouble affording pensions is corruption and the poor appropriation of funds.

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    FUTURE RETRAITEE 2010-7-16

    It will be a real tragedy if this bill is adopted! Having worked for 40 years, contributed for many years, and now seeing myself forced to wait another two years to wait for retirement, God knows if after age 62 we will survive to draw on this pension! And this is even more the case for those who are older than 55. You have no more strength or health. So, we are less productive and absent more often. We hold our positions for nothing while there are young, unemployed people waiting. In order to help a state that is allegedly facing difficulty and has found nothing better to do than to attack those who are weakest as usual, it would be more fitting if the sum payable to a 60-year-old retiree were halved for the first two years between ages 60 and 62, then, after age 62, he would receive his complete pension. This way, the fruit is sliced in two for the government and the future retiree, so as not to say that we are bad citizens. And, as a reader above said, we should begin first of all by reviewing the bas salaries of ministers and MPs and others and the great benefits they are “authorised”, not to mention all of those who go by unnoticed. And, the state need to earn more of the large fortunes it has amassed on the backs of the poorly paid, who live in misery compared to their employer’s fantastic gains. There should also be an audit conducted by neutral foreign bureaus that do not accept bribes in order to monitor the state’s markets, where billions leave without any controls and in complete impunity! But, who is going to do this? Certainly not the leaders who find their own accounts in this mess!

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    BEN 2010-7-14

    On the one hand, they force officials to leave before the end of their term in order to have lower pensions, and on the other hand they push the legal age to work to 62 in order to have a hypothetical financial balance that is largely offset by demographics and the value of the dirham. But the big problem lies elsewhere! It's in the management of the pension funds, which are beyond any control.

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    ابو غراب المغربي 2010-7-14

    Retirement is very nice, but Al Fassi's government will remain throughout history condemned for this crime. However, we have great hopes in his majesty the king for good governance in this work.

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    Moroccan Patriot 2010-7-14

    The reason stated for raising the retirement ages is the inverted work pyramid. With less and less workers as a percentage of the total population to support the aging work force, the only solution, as the criminals in government would have you believe, is to raise the retirement age. This is a bold faced lie. In Morocco, the solution is to preclude those with a certain amount of assets from claiming retirement benefits. For example, if it can be proven that you own your house and own other properties worth in excess of $100,000, you should not be getting a pension from the govt. and should only be entiteled to medical coverage. Similarly, if you have a car worth more than $10,000, you should not get retirement benefits. Retirement benefits should be limited to those in Need. In other words poor people who are over the age of 60. For Responsible adults who plan ahead for their retirement, they do not need the hand outs of a Kufar govt.

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