INVESTING IN MOROCCO

Morocco has been resolutely engaged, following the example of other emergent countries, in a policy, which seeks to make foreign investment a strategic support of the economic and social growth. The country’s authorities have continuously strived to improve the attractiveness of the Kingdom through the implementation of economic, institutional, legislative and legal measures.

Interdepartmental Committee

The government instituted, under the presidency of the Prime Minister, an Interdepartmental Committee whose objective is to implement any measure which is likely to improve and promote the investment environment in Morocco, rule on the questions which can block the realization of the investment projects and simplify the procedures which might impede the realization of the investment projects whose amount exceeds 200 million dirhams. The Interdepartmental Committee of Investments is charged mainly with:

 

•Ruling on the problems which block the realization of any investment project,

•Approving the particular contracts referred to in Article 17 of the framework law 18-95 lying down the charter of investments as well as any other convention binding the State to investors and follow the execution of corresponding investment projects.

•Following the general state of investments and carrying out any measure likely to improve the investment environment.

Why investing in Morocco

In a world context in full economic growth which lives under the law of the globalization of economy and international competitiveness, investment, be it national or foreign, is an essential action to face the requirements of the economic takeoff. In this context, Morocco has resolutely engaged, following the example of other emergent countries, in a policy which seeks to make foreign investment a strategic support of economic and social growth. Indeed, the authorities have strived to improve the attractiveness of the Kingdom through economic, institutional, legislative and statutory measures which are illustrated by:

 

•The adoption of an attractive tax framework relating to investment with, particularly, the coming into force of the provisions of the charter of investment.

•In addition to the adoption of a conventional system allowing important investors to sign investment conventions or contracts with the state in order to profit from particular advantages;

•An overhaul of the institutional investment environment, based on a better decentralized distribution of tasks and roles: on the one hand, Regional Investment Centers (RICs) in order to assist and support investors in the sixteen regions of the Kingdom; On the other hand, at the national level, the Committee of Investments instituted in October 1998, under the presidency of the Prime Minister.

Morocco has also carried out several structural reforms during the last years which resulted in the stability of its macro-economic framework, the consolidation of the opening of its economy to the international environment and the signature of several association and free trade agreements.

Five arguments plead for investing in Morocco:

1. A great political and institutional stability based on a continuous process of democratization;

2. An institutional support and attractive legal framework;

3. A policy of structural reforms and liberalization of the economy;

4. An educated population benefiting from a very satisfactory technical training;

5. Geographical proximity to Europe.

How to invest in Morocco

Morocco has become a land of predilection for international capital. Two important dates provide something to whet the appetites of investors: the dismantling of the MultiFibre Agreement in 2005, which will open the sector to competition, then the abolition in 2012 of the customs barriers which still limit trade between the European Union and Rabat.

The end of customs duties with the EU should favour the intensification of trade with the country’s traditional partners at the head of which in 2003 are to be found, France (26.2% of total trade), ahead of Spain (13.8%), Italy (6.4%), Great Britain (5.2%), Germany (4.6%) and the United States (3,8%). The latter is moreover negotiating a free trade agreement with the kingdom. Rabat would also like to multiply economic cooperation with its Arab neighbors.

One-stop shop

Foreigners may freely invest in Morocco in practically all sectors of activity. Certain domains directly concerning the exploitation of strategic resources are nevertheless protected (for example the exploitation of phosphates for which the Cherifian Phosphates Office – OCP – holds the monopoly). The acquisition of agricultural land remains equally impossible for investors. So as to exploit land, investors must associate themselves with a Moroccan landowner or contract an agricultural lease with a maximum term of 99 years.

The adoption of new labor code facilitates administrative procedures. Henceforth, the conditions for the use of limited duration contracts and temporary staff are clearly defined. As regards compensation for the abusive termination of a contract, yesterday left for the judges to appreciate, they shall henceforth be subjected to a scale and capped.

The government has adopted an investment charter which reinforces the legal and institutional environment. Reductions in tax (up to 50%) and a total exoneration of VAT and import duty on capital goods, equipment, tools, spare parts and accessories linked to an investment are accepted.

The real originality, for projects of less than 200 million dirhams (18.5 million Euros), is in the creation of regional investment centers and a « one-stop shop » which centralises all the administrative procedures. The time required to create a company has been reduced to less than 48 hours and a favorable system of aids may be may be processed at this decentralised level.

As for investments greater than 200 million dirhams, they are automatically exonerated of import duty and VAT. The special Hassan II Fund may be used to provide partial backing of the cost of land acquisition and the construction of professional buildings or total backing for off-site operations (tourism).

The State may participate, under certain conditions (the investment of at least 200 million dirhams, creation of at least 250 jobs, assurance of the transfer of technology, creation of the investment in a province provided for by the regulations in force, or a contribution to the protection of the environment), in the up to 20% of the expenses for the acquisition of land as well as vocational training expenses, and in up to 5% for investments linked to external infrastructure. These advantages may be cumulated to represent 10% of the overall amount of the investment.

Morocco has finally introduced a system to ensure the convertibility of investments made in foreign currency. This system guarantees investors, without prior authorisation, complete freedom to carry out their operations in Morocco, transfer the income produced by these investments, as well as the product resulting from liquidation or a sale. The investor is simply bound to inform the Office des Changes within a period of 6 months of the realisation of his investment by completing a comprehensive set of documentation.

 

Regional Investment Centers

The letter addressed by HM Mohammed VI in January 9, 2002 to the Prime Minister concerning the decentralized management of investment announced the creation of Regional Investment Centers (RICs), under the responsibility of the Walis of the Regions.  These centers are part of the mechanisms which the authorities have endeavored to install in order to development investment at the national and regional levels. The role of the RICs, whose number is sixteen, is not restricted to the traditional task of a simple counter, but includes also broader missions such as making data and information related to economic issues available for economic operators and therefore help develop the potentialities of the regions where they operate.

RICs are structured on two levels:

A -Assistance counter to the creation of companies

This counter is the only interlocutor of any person who wants to set up a business. Its role is:

 

•To place at the disposal of investors a unique form which includes all the information (legislative or statutory) required for the creation of the company.

•To carry out the necessary steps needed to procure documents or certificates required for the creation of a company from the administrations concerned

B- Assistance counters to investors:

Its role is to:

 

•Provide investors with all the useful information relating to regional investment;

•Study, if the projected investment is less than 200 million dirhams, all the requests for administrative authorisations or prepare all the administrative acts needed to the realization of the investment projects in the following sectors:  industry, agro-industry, mining, tourism, handicraft, and housing. Allow to the Wali of the region to deliver authorisations or sign the administrative deeds related to these investments;

•Study, if the investment is equal to or more than 200 million dirhams, draft contracts or draft conventions to be concluded with the state and to transmit them to the governmental authority concerned for approval and signature by the contracting parties;

• Propose friendly solutions in case of disagreement between investors and the administrations.

Attractive Judicial Framework

Morocco has made considerable efforts to improve the investment environment. An action of modernizing all the legislative and statutory laws governing the economic activity was carried out in order to consolidate the attractiveness of the Kingdom vis-à-vis national and foreign investors. In addition to the great reforms of the macro-economic framework which is characterized today by a great stability, several reforms such as the reform of the Casablanca Stock Market in 1993, the reform of the Commercial law  in 1995, the reform of the right of industrial, literary, and artistic property in 1997, the establishment of commercial tribunals, the reform of labour regulations in 2004, have allowed a modernization of the business environment in Morocco and its adherence to the standards of the developed countries..

In Morocco, the laws in force guarantee equality between all investors without any distinction of nationality or background. Bilateral agreements of protection and guarantee of investments or non- double taxation were concluded with more than 40 countries.(“Agreements of promotion and protection of investments.”)

Since 1996, a framework law forming “the Charter of Investment” has been adopted to replace the various investment frameworks applicable hitherto. The measures projected by this charter tend to encourage investment through:

 

•The reduction of the fiscal costs related to the operations of acquiring materials, tools, equipment and fields required for the realization of the investment;

•The reduction of tax rates on incomes and benefits;

•The granting of a preferential tax system in support of regional development;

•The reinforcement of the guarantees granted to investors by arranging the grounds of appeal as far as the national and local taxation is concerned;

•The promotion of the offshore financial places, the free zones of export and the system of the free industrial warehouse.

The Charter contains other advantages relating to investment at the level of:

Fee registration

 

•Exemption for the acts of the acquisition of the land intended for the realization of a project of investment;

•Application of a rate of 2.5 % on the acts of the acquisition of lands intended for the realization of operations of housing estate and construction;

•Application of a rate of 0.5% on the capital invested at the constitution or increase of the capital.

Customs duties

Duty importation: 2.5% or 10% depending on the list of material and equipment; exemption of the Tax levy on Importation “PFI”.

Value-added tax “VAT”

Exemption or refunding for the equipment goods, materials and tools acquired locally or imported.

Licence Tax

Suppression of the variable tax; Exploitation exemption during the first five years in favour of any person or entity practicing a professional, industrial or commercial activity.

Other measures have been adopted at the financial level with the institution of a convertibility system for the benefit of foreign investments financed in currencies which allow free transfer of invested foreign capitals and capital gain.

Stable Macroeconomic framework

The nonagricultural activities contributed to this growth with an increase of 4, 7% (3, 5% in 2003). The rise registered by agriculture represents 1.9% only against 18% in 2003.

GDP

According to the High Planning Commission (HPC), the Moroccan economy realized a growth rate of 4.2% in 2004 (May 20, 2005) against 5,5% in the previous year. This rate represents 1,2 point more than the objective of the 2004 finance law  and 0,7 point compared to the 3,5% expected by the HPC. The non-agricultural activities have contributed to this growth with an increase of 4.7% (3,5% in 2003). The rise realized by agriculture represents 1.9% only against 18% in 2003.

Debt

The process of reducing the stock of the public foreign debt continued in 2004 with a new decrease of 9% i.e. from 126 billion DH at the end of 2003 to 115 billion DH (14 billion US dollars) at the end of 2004. This decline is due to the negative net flows in the foreign debt (drawings– paying off) and the impact of the dollar’s depreciation against the dirham.

Evolution of the public foreign debt stock in million dirhams .

In this way, the debt indicators have been appreciably improved. Thus, the rate of foreign debt dropped from 30.1% to 26.1% of the GDP between 2003 and 2004; that is to say, a decrease of 4 points of the GDP. The rate relating to the current earnings of the balance of payments stepped down from 70% to 61% at the end of every year.

Distribution of stock by group of creditors.

On another level, the structure by group of creditors was profoundly modified during the ten last years. This modification is characterized by a reinforcement:  the case of international institutions (+12%), a decrease: the case of Paris Club (-11%) and a quasi-stability: the case of London Club. Thus, the international development institutions have become the first creditor group of Morocco with an amount of 49 billion DH (42%), followed by bilateral creditors with 47 billion DH (41%) and trade banks with 19 billion DH (17%).

INFRASTRUCTURES

Telecommunications

In the Nineties, Morocco clearly opted for an economic development model based on the liberal logic particularly in dealing with telecommunications. This has deeply shaped the telecommunications landscape and resulted in an exceptional takeoff of the sector (home and mobile phones). This vertiginous growth was reinforced with the coming of a second mobile phone operator.

 

•(home and mobile phones): 9.337.000 subscribers

•Market share: Maroc Telecom (67.5%) Meditelecom (32.5%

•Mobile telephone penetration rate in Morocco: 31.23%

Sales turnover of the Telecom sector in 2003: 19 billion DH (4.53 % of the Morocco’s GDP.

Internet: 103 000 accesses

A new home license was granted in 2005 to the private operator Meditelecom, while waiting for the attribution of a new licence to a forthcoming purchaser. This is part of broad action aiming at reinforcing mobile telephony.

 

Road infrastructure ports industrial zones

 

Road transport

At the interior level, road transport is still dominating since it represents 75% of goods traffic and 95% of passenger transport. A vast program of infrastructure modernization aiming at equipping the country with a road network with a view to keep abreast with the country’s economic and social development has been carried out. Today, Morocco has 32 000 km of surfaced roads and 600 km of motorways. Construction rate of motorways has now passed from an average of 50 km to nearly 150 km per year.

A priority programme of realization was established on the basis of the realization of an annual linear of 100 km between 1994 and 2004.

It covers a 1000 km linear totalizing about 20 billion dirhams.

With regard to roads and tracks, the government also accelerated the execution rate to move from 1 000 to 1 500 km per annum, a particular attention is given to the still enclosed road infrastructures of the North.

Railway transport:

Founded in 1963, the National office of Railroads (ONCF) operates on three strategically independent markets i.e. the transport of travellers, the transport of goods and the transport of phosphate. They represent about 25%, 25% and 50% respectively of the ONCF earnings.

The railways network extends over a surface of 1 907 km including 1 006 km electrified and 370 km double way. Passenger traffic (15.6 million travellers transported in 2003) the total transported tonnage represented 30,5 million tons in 2003. Within the framework of the economic plan of development, the objective is to carry tonnage, thanks to the acquisition of about one hundred new coaches. Other great projects are scheduled in the medium term and will concern the major Moroccan cities (Casablanca, Fez, Meknes, Rabat, Marrakesh, Al-Jadida…), which will be equipped with a network of modern stations similar to the one already existing in Tangier. Therefore, the linking of certain cities to the national rail network (Agadir, etc…) will take place for the first time.

Air transport

Morocco has 14 commercial airports whose annual total activity has reached about 7.6 million passengers in 2004. The Management, investment and exploitation depends on the National office of Airports, a state-owned establishment with commercial and industrial ends which was created in January 1990 following transformation of the Casablanca Office of Airports.

Concerning the realization of infrastructures, the development plan of the ONDA for the five years to come is ambitious and aims at preparing the air transport sector for the changes and challenges to take up during the ten next years. This plan lies within the framework of the national objective of 10 million tourists by 2010.

Maritime transport:

Maritime transport ensures 98 % of the Moroccan foreign trade and 72% of the harbor traffic are ensured by the ports of Casablanca, Mohammedia and Jorf Lasfar. Loose goods represent 83% of the total tonnage. Morocco has a littoral of    3 500 km and a developed harbor infrastructure:

 

•More than 1 210 ha of basins

•More than 32 000 linear meter of quays and wharves

•More than 46 000 l m of piers and dams

•13 installations of naval repair

•8 specialized terminals (ore tankers, hydrocarbons, cereals…)

•4 harbor stations

•5 docks silos

•5 footbridges

There are:

 

•11 comercial ports, NADOR, TANGIER, KENITRA-MEHDIA, MOHAMMEDIA, CASABLANCA, JORF-LASFAR, SAFI, AGADIR, TAN-TAN, LAAYOUNE and DAKHLA.

•11 regional ports of local traffic mainly used for fishing: SAIDIA, RAS KEBDANA, JEBHA, Al HOCEIMA, M’DIQ, LARACHE, AL JADIDA, ESSAOUIRA, SIDI-IFNI, TARFAYA and BOUJDOUR.

•5 marinas: SABLES D’OR, RESTINGA-SMIR, KABILA, ASILAH, MARINA of AGADIR and SAIDIA (under construction).

We should add to this list the future commercial Port of Tangier-Mediterranean (cost estimated at 10 MAD). This port is expected to win, when it becomes operative in 2007, a prominent position similar to that of the ports of Casablanca, Mohammedia and Jorf Lasfar. It will rebalance the flow of exchanges and therefore release the Casablanca port, instigate the northern economic tissue of the country thanks to a specific activity of transshipment. In fact, lying on the strait of Gibraltar, opposite to Algesiras, the future port is expected to win a part of this transshipment activity of the Mediterranean basin.

I/ Investment Charter

OUTLINE LAW N° 18 – 95

ESTABLISHING INVESTMENT CHARTER

 

Official Gazette n° 4336 – 13 Rejeb 1416 (December 6, 95)

Dahir n° 1 – 95 – 213 of Joumada II 14, 1416 (November 8, 1995) providing for the promulgation of the outline law n° 18 – 95 establishing Investment Charter.

PRAISE BE TO GOD!

(Great Seal of His Majesty king Hassan II)

That it is known hereby – might God elevate and strengthen its content!

That Our Majesty,

In view of the Constitution, particularly its article 26,

HAS DECIDED THE FOLLOWING:

Promulgated and will be published in the Official Gazette, and annexed to this present dahir, is the outline law n° 18-95, establishing Investment Charter, adopted by the House of Representatives on Joumada I 7th, 1416 (October 3rd, 1995).

Rabat, Joumada II 14th, 1416 (November 8th, 1995)

 

For countersignature:

The Prime Minister Abdellatif Filali

OUTLINE LAW N° 18 – 95

ESTABLISHING INVESTMENT CHARTER

 

TITLE I

Objects of the Investment Charter

ARTICLE 1

Are determined, according to the second paragraph of the article 45 of the Constitution, the fundamental objects of the state’s action for the forthcoming ten years with a view to developing and promoting investment by improving its atmosphere and conditions, reconsidering the field of tax encouragement and taking measures to encourage investment.

ARTICLE 2

The measures provided in this Charter tend to encourage investment by:

 

•Reducing the tax burden related to operations on working stocks, tools, equipment goods and lands necessary to carry out investment; 5

•Rducing the rate of taxation on income and profits;

•granting a preferential taxation regime in favour of regional development;

•Strengthening the guarantees granted to investors by setting the grounds for appeal in both national and local tax matters,

•Promoting offshore financial centers, export free – zones and a free industrial warehouse system;

•Better assessment of the tax burden and right application of free competition rules, especially by reconsidering the application field of the granted tax exemptions.

These measures tend as well to:

•encourage exports;

•promote employment;

•reduce investment expenses;

•protect the environment.

TITLE II

Measures of fiscal nature

Custom Duties

ARTICLE 3

Custom duties, including import duty and import tax levy shall be set as follows:

 

•import duty must not be inferior to 2.5 ad valorem;

•equipment goods, materials and tools as also their parts, spare parts and accessories considered as necessary to promote and develop investment, shall be liable to an import duty of 2.5 % ad valorem as a minimum rate or 10 % ad valorem as a maximum rate;

•equipment goods, materials, tools and their parts, spare parts and accessories referred to above shall be exempted from import tax levy, with regard to the national economic interests.

Value – Added Tax

ARTICLE 4

Shall be exempted from inland and import value-added tax the equipment goods, materials and tools that have to be inscribed in a realty account and thus open the right to tax deduction in accordance with the legislations related to the value-added tax.

Subjected enterprises that have paid import duty or local purchase tax on the above mentioned goods shall benefit by the reimbursement of the said duty or tax.

Registration Tax

ARTICLE 5

Shall be exempted from the registration tax the acquisition deeds of lands intended for carrying out an investment project, excluding the deeds mentioned in a) of the second paragraph hereunder, on condition that the project should be carried out within a maximum term of the 24 months following the date of the deed.

Are subjected to registration tax at a 2.5 % rate:

a) The acquisition deeds of lands intended for carrying out housing estate and construction operations;

b) The constructions mentioned above, acquired for the first time by persons and /or corporate bodies other than credit establishments or insurance companies.

Are subjected to a registration tax of 0.50 % as a maximum rate the contribution to the initial capital of the companies or any capital increase .

Participation in the National Solidarity

ARTICLE 6

The National Solidarity Tax, attached to the corporation tax, shall be suppressed.

However, the profits and income which are entirely exempted from the corporation tax in pursuance of the present or future legislations establishing incentive measures to investment are liable , in stead of the participation in the National Solidarity, to a tax equal to 25 % of the corporation tax which could have normally been due if exemption does not exist.

Corporation Tax

ARTICLE 7

A. The corporation tax rate is brought back to 35 %.

B. The enterprises exporting products and /or services profit, according to their export turnover^ by special advantages which may go so far as to total exemption of the corporation tax during a five year period and to 50 % reduction beyond this period. With regard to enterprises exporting services, however, the aforesaid exemption and reduction apply only to export turnovers effected in foreign currency.

C. The enterprises established in the prefectures or provinces whose economic activity level requires a preferential tax treatment profit by 50 % reduction of the corporation tax during the first five consecutive years of their operation, excluding permanent establishments of companies having their registered offices outside Morocco, allottees of work, supply or service tenders credit establishments, insurance companies and real estate agencies.

D. Crafts enterprises whose product is essentially the result of manual work profit by 50 % reduction on the corporation tax during the first five years following the beginning of their operation, wherever the place of their establishment may be.

Income General Tax

ARTICLE 8

A. The rate of income general tax scales shall be reset, the maximum of taxation rate should not exceed 41.50 %.

B. The enterprises exporting products and/or services profit, according to their export turnover, by special advantages which may go so for as to total exemption of the income general tax during a five year period and to 50 % reduction beyond this period.

With regard to the enterprises exporting services, however, the aforesaid exemptions and reduction apply only to export turnover effected in foreign currency.

C. The enterprises established in the prefectures or provinces whose economic activity level requires a preferential tax treatment profit by 50 % reduction on the income general tax during the first five years of their operation, excluding the permanent establishments of companies having their registered offices outside Morocco, allottees of work, supply or service tenders credit establishments, insurance companies and real estate agencies

D. Craft enterprises whose product is essentially the result of manual work profit by 50 % reduction on the income general tax during the first five years following the beginning of their operation, wherever the place of their establishment may be.

E. The profit of the above mentioned advantages is subordinated to regular book-keeping in accordance with the legislations in force.

Decreasing Redemptions

ARTICLE 9

Shall be maintained for the equipment goods during the period mentioned in Article 1 above, the measures provided by the legislation relating to the corporation tax and the income general tax in the decreasing redemptions matter .

Provisions for investment concerning Corporation Tax and Income

General Tax

ARTICLE 10

Are considered as deductible charges the provisions made, within the limit of 20 % of taxable profit before taxation, by the enterprises aiming to effect investment in equipment goods, materials and tools, within the limit of 30 % of the said investment, excluding lands, constructions other than those reserved for professional use and private cars.

Shall be maintained as deductible charges the provisions made by mining enterprises for reconstruction of mines in accordance with the legislations relating to corporation tax and general income tax.

The above-mentioned provisions, used in accordance to the object for which they have been made, shall be carried on a provisional account entitled “investment provisions”.

The amount written down in the “investment provisions” account shall be used only:

•By incorporation in capital;

•Or in deduction of previous financial years’ deficit.

Estate Profit Tax

ARTICLE 11

In order to encourage the construction of social housing, shall be exempted from the estate profit tax the profit realized by the persons with regard to the first assignment of the premises for dwelling use, provided that the assignment be of non-speculative purpose and that the housing be of a social character.

Franchise (Licence) Tax

ARTICLE 12

The variable tax on the principal of the franchise (Licence) tax shall be abolished.

Shall be exempted from the franchise (Licence) tax all natural or artificial persons practicing in Morocco a professional, industrial or commercial activity, during the first five years starting from the date of the beginning of their operation.

Shall be excluded from this exemption the establishments of the companies having their registered offices outside Morocco, allottees of work, supply or service tenders, credit establishments, insurance companies and real estate agencies.

Urban Tax

ARTICLE 13

Shall be exempted from the urban tax the new buildings, additions to the buildings as also the outfit being part and parcel of goods or service production establishments, during the first five years following their completion or their set-up.

Excluded from this exemption are the establishments, enterprises and / or agencies mentioned in the last paragraph of Article 12 above, exclusive of the leasing enterprises with regard to equipments that they acquire on behalf of their customers.

Local Taxation

ARTICLE 14

In regard to local taxation, simplification and harmonisation of maximum rates and basis of taxation shall be proceeded with to make them suitable for development and investment requirements.

TITLE III

Measures of financial, praedial and administrative nature and other

ARTICLE 15

These measures have the following objects:

•free transfer of benefits and assets for the persons who carry out investments in foreign currency;

•creation of a praedial reserve intended for the realization of investment projects and the definition of the government’s participation in the acquisition and the equipment of lands required for investment;

•Orientation and assistance to investors, by the establishment of a unified national instrument;

•Simplifying and lightening the administrative procedure related to investment.

Foreign Exchange Regulation

ARTICLE 16

Natural and artificial persons of foreign nationality, residents or non – residents, as also Moroccan natural persons who carry out investments financed in foreign currency in Morocco, profit for the said investments and in the field of foreign exchange regulation, by a convertibility system that guarantees them entire liberty for:

•The remittance of benefits free of tax with no amount or time limitation;

•The remittance of proceeds of assignments or of investment’s total or partial liquidation, including surplus.

Government take – over of certain expenses

ARTICLE 17

The enterprises whose investment programme is very important on account of its amount, the number of permanent employments to be created, the region where it should be carried out, the technology of which it will ensure the transfer or its contribution to environment protection, can drive contacts with the government granting them, in addition to the advantages provided in this present outline law as well as in the texts that will be issued for its explanation, a partial exemption from the following expenses:

•Land acquisition expenses required for investment realization;

•External infrastructure expenses;

•Vocational training costs.

The above mentioned contracts may involve clauses stipulating that the settlement of any disagreement relating to investment which may rise between the government of Morocco and the foreign investors, will be proceeded with in accordance with international conventions ratified by Morocco in international arbitration matters.

Investment Promotion Fund

ARTICLE 18

Shall be created an account for special assignment called “Investment Promotion Fund” designed to account the operation relating to the government’s take – over of the costs of advantages granted to investors within the framework of the investment contract system mentioned in the previous article and also expenses required by investment promotion.

Industrial Zones

ARTICLE 19

In the provinces and for prefectures whose economic development level justifies a special assistance from the Government, this latter takes over a part of set-up costs of the industrial zones which will be implemented there.

ARTICLE 20

Each industrial zone, if its surface importance justifies it,-shall have a management committee, composed of the zone users and the promoter who could be a public or private person in charge of its management and maintenance, supervision and inside security- keeping as well as the right application of the tender terms binding its promoter and users.

ARTICLE 21

Shall be established an administrative instrument in charge of the orientation, information and assistance to investors as also of investment promotion.

 

Lightening administrative procedures

ARTICLE 22

Lightening and simplifying administrative procedures attached to investment realization shall be proceeded with . In all the cases where an administrative permit is required for granting the advantages provided in this outline law, the said permit is supposed to be bestowed when the administration shall have given no response to the request within sixty days after its deposit.

Temporary Provisions

ARTICLE 23

Shall be maintained the investors’ vested rights concerning the advantages by which they profit in pursuance of the legislations establishing measures to encourage investment that remain in force up to the end of the term, and under the conditions, in which they have been granted.

TITLE IV

Agricultural Sector

ARTICLE 24

The provisions of the pre sent outline law are not applicable to the agricultural sector who se taxation system, especially relating to investment, will be the object of a special legislation.

TITLE V

Application Measures

ARTICLE 25

The present outline law will come into force in conformity with the legislations and regulations required for the realization of the goals defined in this present outline law, reckoning from the finance law of 1996.

II/ Labor Regulations

LABOR RELATIONS

INVESTOR CONSIDERATIONS:

OPENING OF AN lNDUSTRIAL OR COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENT MUST BE REPORTED TO THE APPROPRIATE LABOR AUTHORITY.

WAGE AND SALARY INCREASES ARE FREELY NEGOTIATED

MINIMUM MONTHLY LEGAL WAGE IS US$ 179.76, INCREASED 13Y 10 PERCENT.MAXIMUM 48 HOURS PER WEEK, INDEXED.

COMPULSORY MEMBERSHIP IN THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM FOR   ALL EMPLOYEES.

LABOR RELATIONS

Moroccan legislation aims to give workers every protection consistent with respect for the  authority and responsaibility of the employer, Apart from ensuring that regulations are observed, labor inspections do their best to preserve the atmosphere of mutual confidence between employers and their staff. The total work force is about 10 million. The Moroccan labor market is one of its strongest competitive advantage. With the establishment of vocational training programs adapted to companies needs. Among 120,000 young people involved in professional training programs 40 percent comes from the private sector. There is a plentiful, flexible supply of temporary low cost labor (average’ hourly earnings of $ 1.00 + 35% fringe benefits including social security Termination of employment can be an issue for permanent employees but is permitted for overall workforce reduction, poor individual performance or as a disciplinary measure. In the first two cases, the worker is entitled to one month of compensation pet year of service. Permanent employees are generally represented by one of the major national unions. Current management-union relations are positive and free of counter productive interruptions

Social charter, or the Social dialogue Starting in June 1995, the social dialogue symbolized a new modern Moroccan attitude toward the economic and social issues. In fact, this is the first time that government, trade unions and employees are acting in harmony to adopt common positions on measures that will address themselves to all classes of society and will find a way to support the national economy. On June 1996, an agreement was reached between these parties on issues such as:

•the improvement of wages for the entire workforce,

•a raise of 10% of the minimum wage,

•100,000 housing units under construction.

FOREIGNERS WORKING IN MOROCCO

Work and residence permits are usually granted to foreigners with suitable professional qualifications and should be applied for, by the employer.

III/INCENTIVE MESURES FOR SOCIAL HOUSING

Article 19 of the 1999-2000 Finance Law (as completed and modified by the Article 16Bis of the 2001 Finance Law)

1/ – The real estate promoters, moral or physical person being a matter for the regime of the real net result, are exonerated for the set of their acts, activities and incomes relative to the realization of social housing as definite to the 13 of the article 8 of the Law n 30-85 relative to the value-added tax:

 

•of registration rights and stamps;

•of inscription rights for the properties (livre foncier);

•of the patent tax;

•of the value-added tax;

•of the tax on societies;

•of the general tax on the  incoming;

•of the participation to the national solidarity for the non-constructed properties;

•of the urban tax;

•and off all taxes, royalties and contributions discerned in favor of the local collectivities and their groupings.

Benefit of these exonerations the real estate promoters that achieve their operations in the setting of a convention concluded with the government, assorted of a notebook of charges, in order to achieve a program of 2500 social housing construction, spread out on a maximum period of five years running to intend of the date of deliverance of the authorization to construct.

The program can include several projects of construction distributed on one or several sites in one or several cities.

The exoneration of registration rights and stamps is acquired subject to conditions foreseen to IV paragraph TO 3 of the article 96 of the code of the registration.

To be admitted to the profit of exoneration foreseen above to the first paragraph the real estate promoters must hold an accounting separated for every program and must join to the declaration foreseen to articles 27 and 28 of the Law n 17-89 relative to the general tax on the incoming:

 

•a copy of the convention and the notebook of charges concerning the first year;

•a state of the number of housings achieved there in the setting of every program as well as the amount of the business number pertaining.

To defect of realization of all or part of the program in the defined conditions by the mentioned convention, taxes and payable rights are put their in recovery without prejudice of penalties and overcharges pertaining.

By derogation of the relative arrangements concerning the delay of prescription for each tax and right, the administration can give out the tax during the four years following to the year of realization of the program object of the convention concluded with the government.

2/  arrangement for the SS I of the present article are applicable to construction operations of social housing achieved to count of July 1st, 1999.

3/ – A/ – are exonerated here of the taxes hereafter, the real estate promoters that achieve during a maximum period of 3 years, from the date of the construction authorization of the constructions operations of cities, residence or academic campuses, of which the capacity of lodging is equal or superior to 1000 beds, and this in the setting of a convention concluded with the government, assorted of a notebook charges:

 

•rights of registration;

•rights of inscription for the properties (livre foncier);

•the patent tax;

•the value-added tax;

•the urban tax;

•and all taxes, royalties and contributions discerned in favor of the local collectivities and their groupings.

The mentioned real estate promoters benefit also of a reduction of 50% of the general tax on income or the tax on societies, concerning the incomes coming from the renting of constructions achieved in the setting of arrangements of the present paragraph in conformity with their destination, and this for a period of five years to intend of the date of obtaining of the permit to live.

B/ – Arrangements of the paragraph A are applicable, in condition foreseen to the I of the present article, to construction operations of cities, residences, and academic campuses achieved from the January 1st, 2001.

IV/INCENTIVE MESURES FOR TOURISM SECTOR (Dahir N° 1-00-182 of June 28, 2000) (Transitory F.L – July/December 2000)

1°/ IS – IGR

the hotels created as of July 1st, 2000, are entitled under certain condition of total exoneration on corporate tax and general revenue tax for the first five years followed by 50% tax cut beyond this period.

Establishments which start their operations before July 1, 2000 (between 01/07/1999 and 30/06/2000) could benefit of 50% tax cut on corporate tax and general revenue tax on their turnover earned in hard currency for any revenue equal or higher than 50% of their total turnover.

2°/ PATENT TAX

In addition to the above mentioned advantages hotels can benefit of 50%  on construction cost within certain brackets (20 % and 60 %), calculated as follows:

Sections of cost price Cut-back

Less or equal to 3 Millions3 Millions < PR? 6 Millions6 Millions <PR ? 12 MillionsMore than 12 Millions 20 %40 %50 %60 %

The rental value is limited to the part of the cost price of the taxable investments lower or equal to 50 million dirhams (also applies to the service providers for the goods acquired as of the 01-01-2001). It should be noted that the rental value being used as a basis of calculation for the hotel establishments, should be retained only to the amount of 75 % (circular Notes n° 8/00001 of January 04, 1965 and n° 8/05356 of March 17, 1967).

3°/ LICENCE TAX

75 % tax cut.

4°/ A.V.T

Application of the reduced rate of 10 % with right to deduction for:

•operations of sale of food products or drinks to be consumed in-house as well as operations of residences supplies by hotels to their customers, the restaurants operating in hotels and in properties for tourism use.

•rental buildings for hotels, motels, vacation villages use totally or partly equipped  including restaurants, bars, dancing and swimming pools insofar as they are part of the tourist unit;

•catering activities, foodstuff and beverages sales for in-house consumption, in restaurant wherever they are located, as well as catering services to companies personal;

However, if the authorization is granted for the operation of bars, restaurants or cafes a distinction should be made between the tax rates applicable to each of those activities. (10% for restaurants, 20% for cafes)

 

•Exemption on the acquisition of goods either locally or abroad.

5°/ REGISTRATION AND STAMP FEES

As of 1st January 2001, a 5% tax is applicable on property transfer of commercial establishments and their clientele (hotels, restaurants, bars) instead of 10%

 

•A reduced rate of 1% is applicable on leasing of buildings for hotel use and their dependences;

•Registration at the rate of 5% on property transfer of commercial establishments and their clientele (hotels, restaurants, bars and cinemas).

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