Morocco plans its next arms industry

The Moroccan House of Representatives approved a draft framework law for national arms development
King Mohammed VI

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   King Mohammed VI

The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Borders of the Moroccan House of Representatives accepted a draft framework law which seeks to bring about the development of an arms industry in the Alaouite kingdom.

The legal text was approved on 14 July and refers to defence and security materials and equipment, including armed equipment. The Ministry of National Defence of Morocco developed the legal text with the cooperation of several institutions in the field of Moroccan defence and security. 

The challenge is to regulate the manufacture, trade, import, export and transport of security equipment. This would be done by establishing an authorization system that documents, tracks and controls these operations.

Parlamento marroquí durante una sesión parlamentaria
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Moroccan Parliament during a parliamentary session

Draft law 29.20, which complements law 5.99 on the reserve of the Royal Armed Forces (RAF), provides for the integration of the personnel of public establishments and companies, legal persons under public law or private law who have received military training in ''an establishment belonging to the Royal Armed Forces'', as noted in an official note.

Abdellatif Loudiyi, Minister Delegate in charge of National Defence Administration, welcomed, in his speech on the occasion of the presentation of the draft laws related to national defence, the great attention paid by the nation's representatives to the structures of the department proper to their area; of vital importance because it is responsible for the mission of protecting and preserving the territorial integrity of Morocco under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, Chief of Staff of the Royal Armed Forces.

The monarch of the North African country had already given the go-ahead to the draft of a law that includes up to 55 articles, regulating the trade in arms and ammunition. The project will allow the construction of units for the arms industry in Morocco. It would also allow the manufacture of weapons by national operators, also with foreign participation. 

Caza F-16 de Marruecos
PHOTO/FAR - F-16 from Morocco

The regulation covers the requirements that companies must meet to enter this business and the main buyer should be the RAF and the country's security services. 

The law stipulates that future companies that manufacture arms and ammunition in Morocco must be wholly or majority owned by Moroccan capital. 

The recently adopted text would also establish a national committee to oversee the authorisations granted to arms manufacturers. In addition, the law sets out the conditions for selling, exporting and transporting arms to foreign customers, and the penalties imposed on violators. Penalties include imprisonment for up to 20 years and fines of up to five million Moroccan dirhams (about $522,000).

After its approval by the House of Representatives, the framework law has to go through the House of Councillors before its final adoption.

The House of Representatives adopted a total of six laws: on the financial and banking sector, national defence and information security. According to a press release from the legislature, these bills were adopted during a plenary session chaired by Habib El Malki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, in the presence of the Minister of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform, Mohamed Benchaâboun, and Abdellatif Loudiyi himself. These are bills 36.20 relating to the transformation of the Central Guarantee Fund (CCG) into a joint stock company (SA), 44.20 amending and supplementing law 103.12 relating to credit institutions and similar bodies, and bill 05.20 on cyber security. There is also draft law 10.20 on defence and security materials and equipment, weapons and ammunition, draft law 29.20 supplementing law 5.99 on the reserve of the Royal Armed Forces and draft law 42.18 on export control of civilian and military dual-use goods and related services.