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Mohammed VI: "We must redouble our efforts to achieve a rational and responsible use of water"

The King of Morocco focuses his speech on the water crisis and the management of the kingdom's investments
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 -   Mohammed VI, King of Morocco

Mohammed VI, accompanied by Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan, addressed Parliament on Friday for the opening of the first session of the second legislative year of the eleventh legislature. The Moroccan king wanted to emphasise two fundamental aspects that mark the present and future of the Alaouite kingdom, namely the water crisis and the management of the country's investments. According to the monarch, "the problem of water resource management is an urgent one, especially now that Morocco is going through a difficult period of drought".

Throughout his speech, he highlighted various initiatives such as the launch of the National Priority Water Programme 2020-2027, and the construction of 70 reservoirs, 50 of which have already been completed, and 20 of which are in progress. However, even with these projects underway, Mohammed VI emphasised the importance of the responsibility of the population in this issue: "We invite you to seriously consider the problem of water in all its aspects, especially by putting an end to any form of waste, abuse and irresponsible use of this vital element".

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The King of Morocco also stressed the Kingdom's intention to continue increasing its efforts to improve the country's infrastructure, assuring that "it is essential to launch more ambitious programmes and initiatives, taking advantage of innovations and modern technologies". In this second task, which, the monarch said, was focused on investment, he said, "is committed to productive investment as a fundamental lever to revive the national economy and achieve the incorporation of Morocco into promising sectors that generate employment opportunities for young people and sources of funding for the various social and development programmes".

He also stressed that, despite the efforts being made by Morocco, the results indicate that the kingdom still needs to make further progress, which is why he advocates "insisting, once again, on the need to fully implement the Charter of administrative decentralisation, as well as the simplification and digitalisation of procedures, facilitating access to property and green energies". He concluded by saying that they had given their indications to the government to "translate the commitments of the various parties into a national pact for investment", which aims to "mobilise 550 million dirhams in investments, as well as the creation of 500,000 jobs between 2022 and 2026".

Full text of King Mohammed VI's speech to Parliament:

"Praise be to God, prayer and greetings be upon our Lord God's Envoy, his family and companions,

Respectable Ladies and Gentlemen parliamentarians,

The opening of Parliament is not merely a constitutional occasion for the resumption of the meeting with the representatives of the Nation, but we see it as an important annual rendezvous to raise the major issues that concern the Nation, particularly those that are of a priority nature.

On this occasion, we thought it appropriate to focus our attention on two major issues:

Firstly, there is the issue of water, with all the challenges, both urgent and forthcoming.

Secondly, there is the issue of making a qualitative change in the field of investment promotion.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

God the Most High says: "From water We have made everything living" (Holy Alcoran).

Indeed, water is the source of life; it is also a fundamental element for the operation of development, just as it is indispensable for all projects and productive sectors.

This makes the issue of water resources management a pressing one, especially now that Morocco is going through a difficult period of drought, the most acute for more than three decades.

We pray to the Almighty to bless our country with beneficial rain.

In order to deal with this situation, we have taken a series of preventive measures since last February, within the framework of the Plan to combat the effects of drought, to ensure the availability of drinking water, to assist farmers and to protect livestock.

Aware of the structural nature of this phenomenon in our country, we are fully aware of the importance of the water issue in all its aspects.

In this respect, we have devoted several working sessions to this issue, which led to the drafting of the National Priority Programme for Water 2020-2027.

Moreover, since our accession to the throne, we have worked to continue the construction of reservoirs. In this context, we have been able to build more than 50 large and medium-sized dams, in addition to 20 that are in the process of being completed.

Indeed, whatever the volume of rainfall in the coming years, we will not fail to accelerate the implementation of the projects included in this programme, in all regions of the Kingdom.

We are referring here to the construction of planned reservoirs, interconnecting water networks and seawater desalination plants, as well as the consolidation of a clear trend towards water saving, especially in the field of irrigation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The problem of drought and water scarcity is not unique to Morocco, but has become a universal phenomenon that is increasingly aggravated by climate change.

The current water resources situation challenges us all: the government, the institutions and the citizens, demanding openness and responsibility in the way we deal with it and address its weaknesses.

Morocco is experiencing a situation of structural water stress. Indeed, not all problems can be solved only by building planned hydraulic structures, however important and necessary they may be.

For these reasons, we call for serious consideration of the water problem in all its aspects, especially by putting an end to all forms of waste, abuse and irresponsible use of this vital element.

In this regard, the water issue should not be a subject for political wrangling or a reason to inflame social tensions.

As Moroccans, we must redouble our efforts to achieve a rational and responsible use of water; this requires a real change in our behaviour towards this vital element. Public administrations and public services must lead by example in this area.

We must also work towards exemplary demand management, in parallel with what is being done in the field of water resource mobilisation.

In the medium term, we must consolidate our proactive policy in the water sector by catching up.

The duty of responsibility now requires the adoption of sustainable and complementary choices, in a spirit of solidarity and efficiency, within the framework of the new National Water Plan, whose implementation we are inviting you to participate in.

In this context, we would like to underline some fundamental orientations:

First, it is essential to launch more ambitious programmes and initiatives, taking advantage of modern innovations and technologies in the field of water saving and wastewater reuse.

Secondly, particular attention should be paid to rationalising the use of groundwater and to preserving groundwater tables by combating the phenomenon of illegal water pumping and the proliferation of anarchic wells.

Third: reaffirming that water policy is not a mere sectoral policy, but a cross-cutting concern that affects many sectors, which requires a permanent updating of sectoral strategies, in the light of the pressure on water resources and their future evolution.

Fourth: the need to take into account the real cost of water resources at each and every stage of their development, with all that this requires in terms of transparency and awareness-raising, as well as aspects related to this cost.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The second axis of this speech concerns the issue of investment, which enjoys our full attention.

Today, we are committed to productive investment as a fundamental lever for reviving the national economy and bringing Morocco into promising sectors that generate employment opportunities for young people and sources of funding for various social and development programmes.

In this regard, we hope that the new Investment Charter will provide a tangible impetus for Morocco to attract private investment, both domestic and foreign.

To this end, the obstacles that continue to hinder the realisation of a real national investment kick-start, at all levels, must be lifted.

In this regard, regional investment centres are called upon to oversee the overall investment operation at all stages, increasing their efficiency and improving the quality of their services, as well as accompanying and advising entrepreneurs until their projects come to fruition.

Such centres, on the other hand, need to be supported by all stakeholders, whether at central or regional level.

With regard to the business climate, I must say that the structural reforms we have carried out have contributed to improving Morocco's image and position in this area.

However, the results obtained require further efforts to unleash all national energies and potential, as well as to stimulate private initiative and attract greater foreign investment.

In this context, we would like to insist, once again, on the need to fully implement the Charter of administrative deconcentration, as well as the simplification and digitisation of procedures, facilitating access to property and green energies, in addition to providing financial support for project holders.

In order to strengthen investors' confidence in our country as a destination for productive investment, we call for strengthening the foundations of fair competition and implementing arbitration and mediation to resolve disputes that may arise in this area.

Since investment is a matter of concern for all institutions and the private sector, we insist on the need to mobilise everyone, in a spirit of responsibility, to promote this sector, which is crucial for the country's progress.

The strategic objective is none other than for the private sector to take its rightful place in the investment domain, as the true engine of the national economy.

Moroccan companies and their national, regional and sectoral organisations are thus called upon to provide a lever for investment and leadership in entrepreneurship.

Similarly, the national banking and financial sector is called upon to support and finance the new generation of investors and entrepreneurs, especially young people and SMEs.

In this context, we would like to renew our invitation to devote particular attention to investments and initiatives by members of the Moroccan community living abroad.

In order to achieve the objectives set, We have given Our guidelines to the government, in collaboration with the private and banking sectors, to translate the commitments of the various parties into a national pact for investment.

The latter aims to mobilise 550 million dirhams in investment and create 500,000 jobs between 2022 and 2026.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You all know the role of the parliamentary institution, in the fields of legislation, evaluation and control, to promote water and investment issues, as well as the various issues and problems that occupy the nation and its citizens.

God protect you, you must live up to the great national responsibility that you are assuming, especially in the current national circumstances and global changes.

To conclude, nothing better than the words of God the Most High who said: "He has brought down water from heaven, by which He has brought forth fruit for your sustenance". (Holy Alcoran).