The adoption of the Finance Law 2021 was an opportunity for elected officials to strengthen the government mechanism for encouraging Moroccan products and its corollary, the principle of national preference. Several clauses will, in fact, be changed in the specifications relating to suppliers to the State and local authorities, with a view to integrating SMEs, cooperatives, and individual entrepreneurs in public procurement. It must be said that the mitigation of the economic impact of Covid-19, necessarily passes by the improvement of the access of VSEs and SMEs and other categories of operators, to the public market.
The unprecedented health crisis that the country is going through has pushed the government to put in place an action plan with the objective of boosting the morale of operators and to allow national production to continue during this stage of the crisis. “Encouraging the use of the national product and the access of SMEs to the public market is a fundamental pillar to improve the competitiveness of the national product, which will create jobs,” says the latest parliamentary report on this subject.
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New clauses approved
The new mechanism, adopted as part of next year’s budget, indicates that in addition to VSEs and SMEs, unions of cooperatives and individual entrepreneurs will be concerned by the implementation of the principle of national preference. The comparison between the bids of bidders for public procurement will therefore be based on the nationality of operators, interested in the bid, with a double scale of comparison established for contracts with a value not exceeding $11 million (100 MDH) and those with a value exceeding $11 million (100 MDH).
The new requirements include orders relating to market studies. The main novelty concerns public institutions that are not yet governed by the decree on state contracts and “which are called upon to accelerate the transposition of the standards of national preference in their systems for processing tenders. The encouragement of the national product will be ensured by broadening the sectors concerned by the application of the national preference, mainly handicraft products, and to indicate explicitly in the specifications for suppliers’ contracts that Moroccan quality standards will have the same value as those accepted at the international level. A restrictive list of imported products will be established and will be accepted only if the national product does not meet the requirements imposed by Moroccan standards. “Firms that win contracts will be required to provide documents attesting to the origin of the commodities used in the final production of their products, including invoices and certificates of origin,” says the new framework for processing tenders. Additional requirements will also be imposed on project holders who have been approved to enter into supply contracts with the State and other legal entities under public law, including obtaining an administrative certificate covering all the necessary grounds that obliged the supplier to use imported products.
A threshold of $11 million (100 MDH) has been established for supply contracts that will require prior approval by a special commission to be chaired by the Minister of Economy and Finance for contracts concluded by public administrations and public institutions. This commission will include representatives of the Equipment and Industry Departments, as well as the project leader. A second commission, chaired this time by the Department of the Interior, will also be formed for local authority contracts worth more than $11 million (100 MDH) and will have to decide on all projected contracts. “These two commissions take their decisions by majority on the basis of a detailed study of the project leader, within a month”. The two government commissions, which will be set up, will also be obliged to motivate all decisions to be taken, mainly for supply contracts that opt for imported products.
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First published in LesEco.ma, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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