Aziz Akhannouch is more contested than ever because of his double role as head of government and main shareholder of Afriquia, the leader in the local hydrocarbons market. On social networks, he is accused of earning margins “indecent”against a backdrop of denunciations of the high cost of living and collusion between the business world and certain state officials.
A new boycott campaign, which targets fuel sold by Aziz Akhannouch’s brand, has reignited Morocco’s never-ending debate over the collusion between business and politics. Spreading like wildfire on social networks, for the past few days, this action has generated thousands of comments and interactions. Promoted by some very popular pages, it targets Afriquia service stations, at a time when the sharp rise in food and fuel prices is displeased by large sections of Moroccan society, who are demanding an urgent cap on margins. “exorbitant” fuel distributors.
Since liberalisation, distributors’ profits have reached “more than 45 billion dirhams until 2021”, according to trade union sources, who also denounce the colossal profits of certain fuel distributors, in the forefront of which the Afriquia group, targeted by the new boycott. Other sources refer to the explosive parliamentary report on the evolution of fuel prices produced in 2018. The final version of this report, redacted from its crudest figures, showed that fuel importers have considerably increased their margins, to start with Africa.
The executive is also accused of negligence for its alleged “inability” to restart the only refinery in the kingdom, located in Mohammedia, in liquidation since 2018. If it was in operation, Samir would have helped to absorb the increase in the price of energy. Unleaded gasoline is approaching, according to our latest estimates, 18 dirhams per liter and diesel nearly 16 dirhams, levels never equaled before.
The agreement signed at the end of April and which provides for an increase in the minimum wage of 10% over two years in the sectors of industry, commerce and services, has not helped matters. In the public sector, the minimum wage rose to 3,500 dirhams net against 3,362 dirhams previously, a gesture considered insufficient and unconvincing, while the kingdom is expected to experience high inflation (+4.7%) and mixed growth ( +0.7%) in 2022, according to the very recent forecasts of the Moroccan Central Bank.
Consumer prices (+3.3% for January and February 2022 year on year) will climb further to “levels above the average of the last decade”, according to the High Commission for Planning (HCP). The four most representative trade unions, namely the Moroccan Labor Union (UMT), the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT) and the General Union of Workers of Morocco (UGTM) as well as the National Union of Labor in Morocco (UNTM) have broken their silence as the tension mounts. In a letter released this week, the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT), called on Aziz Akhannouch to “to intervene urgently to protect the purchasing power of the working class and the population in general, and realize the extent of the suffering they are suffering”. Three other unions have announced a national strike from June 20 in the public service, local communities and transport to protest against the high cost of living.
Meanwhile, the head of government continues to annoy us with achievements that he takes credit for, even though they are the work of ministers who work tirelessly behind the scenes, like that of the health and social protection and that of national education, which has brought real momentum, while on the sector which seriously worries Moroccans and challenges Aziz Akhannouch first and foremost, namely the dizzying rise in fuel prices which is leading to its wake the increase in prices of almost all products, it’s motus and mouth sewn! Until when ?