The Moroccan authorities have announced the new draft law of the Council of Government which aims to strengthen the procedures for control of purchases and sales via e-commerce platforms and to prevent fraud and manipulation operations controlled by the customs administration.
The bill provides for the application of the customs and indirect tax code to legalize this type of operation through international e-commerce platforms and thus avoid the emergence of an unregulated market. This measure comes after investigations carried out by the customs administration revealed illegal practices in the number of transactions.
Speaking during the plenary session of the Chamber of Councillors, the Minister Delegate to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Fouzi Lekjaaconsidered that current imports of goods via e-commerce benefit from the customs facilities usually granted to low-value goods.
Lekjaa pointed out that these operations are based on defrauding the value of declared goods and therefore legislation needs to be passed to adapt to the new reality of internet shopping. “This situation constitutes unfair competition for local industry and regular commerce, a danger to the health of consumers and a waste of State revenue”said the Minister, referring to tax justice and the protection of local trade and industry.
The customs administration pointed out that this situation has led to the emergence of an unstructured market, activated by the resale of goods purchased on international e-commerce sites. In what the Moroccan government called “cheating”this is done by manipulating invoices or distributing them among several beneficiaries in order to escape customs exemption and the control of consumer protection rules.
However, this is not the first step taken by Morocco in this direction.. The government has already approved the imposition of customs duties on all electronic purchases made on international platforms, regardless of the amount involved. This measure, approved this month, will come into force on July 1 and, together with the new bill, should guarantee tax certainty for all purchases made through electronic platforms.
This new buying trend has become more pronounced in recent years. According to official statistics, the number of parcels to Morocco increased between 2018 and 2021, from 2.8 million to more than 6 million, for a value of more than two billion dirhams.
Lerbi Belghiti Alaouidirector of Jumia-Morocco, the first e-commerce platform in the Middle East and North Africa, pointed out that the use of new technologies is constantly increasing due to the demand of Moroccan consumers for new digital experiences characterized by speed and flexibility.