The Moorish Wanderer

Failure To Lead: PJD and the Budget Kuffufle

Posted in Dismal Economics, Flash News, Moroccan Politics & Economics, Morocco, Read & Heard by Zouhair ABH on February 23, 2012

I like the CM behind @PJDOfficiel . I really do; but let us face it: when it comes to specific questions a citizen is allowed -required, I might argue- to ask his elected representatives, there is an obligation to answer the request, or at least to refer back to specific official communiques related to the matter. Unfortunately, it seems my questions were not deemed ‘respectful’ towards the senior government coalition partner’s official twitter account. Plus I feel they get away too easy with the Bread-and-Butter issues of fiscal responsibility only too often. Time they get out of their socially conservative comfort zone, I’d say.

First off, I should perhaps point out I recognize to this government all legitimacy in managing the affairs of our nation; contrary to the overwhelming majority of the pro-democracy Feb20 movement and a majority of my PSU party, I did not support the boycott option, and I have wholeheartedly accepted the parliamentary November 25th elections whose results placed PJD ahead of its competitors with about a third of all popular votes.

My questions were well-defined, focused and specific to the Debt and the Deficit, based on the Treasury estimates at around 6% of GDP for 410Bn in public debt -contrary to the Party’s own manifesto pledge and the Government statement laid before Parliament, a target of 3% Deficit:

I can always try and find some more ‘offensive’ tweet, but I fail to find any that would elicit outrage, or to say the least some annoyance to an excessive scrutiny on my behalf:

PJD's twitter account strikes back... and they are not very happy

Anyhow, we have a couple of news about the new Budget Bill, and the sneak peek does not seem to be all that enticing; in fact, it just confirms my earlier claim the PJD-led government has buckled on the Compensation Fund, even as it benefits the privileged few and encourages rent-seeking economic activities. The tweets read:

(tweets are here, here and here, and roughly translate to: “(Head Of Government) Benkirane declared the Budget Bill will be presented before Parliament within the next three weeks; the Budget Bill has allocated the Compensation Fund around 40 Billion, when it was funded some 54 Billion last year. Some of the proceeds will be directed to alleviate the hardships vulnerable groups of society, especially Orphans, Widows and others”.) the claim that they have managed to halve the Compensation Fund expenses from 54 to 40Bn is false: they have, at best, managed to halve it from 41.1Bn to 40Bn as per Treasury Estimates, December 2011. The discrepancy is actually a Compensation Credit -hence not immediately funded- that needs to be paid back to Oil-importing businesses like SAMIR.

In a final act of mockery, the CM tried to reassure me that my  remarks were ‘passed on’:

O RLY? I guess I will be waiting by for the Budget Bill then…