New analyzes reveal that the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic could push more than half a billion people into poverty, unless drastic measures are taken urgently. This virus affects us all, but the equality ends there. If left unchecked, this crisis, which has already generated dramatic socioeconomic consequences, will cause immense suffering that is difficult to reverse due to the worsening of extreme inequalities between rich and poor people, between rich and poor nations but also between men and women The consequences could be devastating for communities and individuals living in conditions of poverty and vulnerability.
Over the past twenty years, Morocco has achieved a significant reduction in monetary poverty. This increased from 15.3% in 2001 to 4.8% in 2014, according to statistics from the High Commission for Planning (HCP). But because of the economic and social crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the incidence of poverty in the Kingdom is expected to rise again. The proportion of vulnerable people could drop from 17.1% of the population in 2019 to around 19.87% in 2020, or 1.058 million additional people, likely to fall into poverty due to their health and socioeconomic conditions … This situation was recently underlined in a composite indicator created by Oxfam to measure the commitment of States to reducing inequalities. This indicator is based on the analysis, by country, of three pillars, namely social spending that finances public services, such as education, health and social protection, which have a progressive effect and contribute to the reduction of existing levels of inequality, progressive taxation, which consists in taxing more wealthy companies and individuals, in order to redistribute resources within society and ensure the financing of public services and the level of wages and the strengthening of labor rights, especially for women, which constitute an essential lever for reducing inequalities.
Morocco ranks 121st out of a total of 157 countries. It obtains a particularly low score for the sub-indicators of social expenditure (rank 103), progressive tax (rank 137) and workers’ rights (rank 101). This is not surprising if we take into account that public policies to reduce inequalities are largely insufficient, ineffective and do not affect all components of society in the same way, especially their impact on very vulnerable remain limited. In its report “Equal Morocco, Fair Taxation”, Oxfam highlighted the inadequacy of social spending that finances public services, such as education, health and social protection. Thus, the Covid-19 has highlighted the fragility of a health system that already suffers from pre-existing flaws. For example, two out of 12 regions in Morocco alone concentrate more than 50% of the number of doctors and it is no coincidence that these are the same two regions (Casa-Settat and Rabat-Kénitra) which create 47.9% of the country’s wealth (according to the HCP). It is essential that citizens can count on their public health system. Today, Morocco has only 7.1 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants.
According to Abdeljalil Laroussi, advocacy and campaigns manager at Oxfam Morocco: “The Kingdom was very poorly equipped to deal with the pandemic. Morocco has not done enough to reduce inequalities and, therefore, it is ordinary people who bear the brunt of this crisis. Thousands of people no longer have an income and have fallen into poverty and hunger. Certain deaths, linked to the virus or not, could also certainly have been avoided”.
Oxfam therefore reminds us that our economies must be transformed to guarantee the universality of access to health, education and other public services. For that, companies and the wealthy must pay their fair share of taxes. This will ensure more distributive policies and considerably reduce the gap between the richest and the poorest and between women and men. If a wealth solidarity tax had been adopted at a rate of 5%, the income generated could have been sufficient to almost double Morocco’s spending in order to respond to the coronavirus crisis. According to Asmae Bouslamti, governance program manager at Oxfam: “Tax justice is an excellent means of social cohesion. It makes it possible to correct inequalities by redistributing wealth when it is initially poorly distributed, and to take the necessary resources to finance infrastructure and public services that benefit the entire population”. The deputies will examine the 2021 finance bill for its final adoption. To do this, Oxfam reiterates that it is urgent to introduce more justice into our economic and social policies and equity in our tax system by referring to the conclusions and commitments made in the tax bases to restore dignity and hope to the most disadvantaged.