Expert Insight

Economic and Legal Measures and Procedures already taken in Morocco due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic Lawyer . Saeed Ma’ash

The rapid infection and spread of Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic drove various countries all over the world to speed up the enactment of legislations and laws dictated by the unexpected emergent circumstances. These countries have already taken several preventive and precautionary measures inter alia suspension of learning, public utilities services, transport and aviation traffic as well as suspension of several activities either on partial or full basis including unprecedented measures related to declaration of health state of emergency and imposition of quarantine in a bid to reduce the spread of pandemic on one side and maintain the relaunching economic cycle on the other.

Despite World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant international institutions unified directions to various governments to take the measures which ensure the reduction of pandemic spread and evade more damages, this does not prevent each country to set its own plans independently to fight the pandemic according to its capabilities, qualifications and political regime.

Morocco initialed early its encountering measures against the pandemic prior to the announcement of the first infection case recorded on the 2nd.March.2020 and prior to the declaration of the health state of emergency on 20th, March.2020. The measures taken were meant to include various economic, social, health, legal and justice sectors. This report is meant to present a brief review of the policy adopted by Kingdom of Morocco to encounter the pandemic.



  1. Economic & Social Measures:

These measures are particularly represented in the foundation of a special fund for the management of the pandemic consequences and formation of Economic Vigilance Committee in addition to Central Bank of Morocco role.

  • Foundation of Coronavirus pandemic Consequences Management Fund.

Prior to the declaration of health state of emergency, the Royal Divan Decree was passed in the mid of March under which the government is ordered to found for the remedy of the pandemic consequences for an amount of Morocco Dirham ten billions for the provision of the suitable infrastructures, equipment and means in addition to the support of the national economy and keep up the most injured sectors and to mitigate the social consequences of the crisis.

On 17th, March 2020, a decree for the foundation of a special account in the name of “Coronavirus pandemic Consequences Management Fund” was published in the Official Gazette by virtue of which the Minister of Finance was entrusted to handle the resources thereof. This fund was jointly financed by the State Public Budget, public territorial and contracting groups, private sector as well International Institutions and Organizations, donations, contributions and other various resources.

The resources of this fund were mainly allocated to support the public Health System and rehabilitating the same to fight the pandemic and to support the national economy and maintain employment and to mitigate the pandemic social consequences.

It is to be noted that this fund was replenished by Morocco Dirham 33 billion ( about Euro 3 billions) while the spending thereof amounted to Morocco Dirham 15 billion up to 28th, May 2020.

  • Formation of Economic Vigilance Committee

On 11th.March 2020, the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Administrations Reform announced the formation of an Economic Vigilance Committee for following up Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic consequences and associate measures through the well-controlled mechanisms for following up and assessment to monitor the national economic status. This committee further identifies the appropriate response in relation to keeping up the sectors which are most exposed to Coronavirus pandemic consequences and impacts. This committee which includes several ministerial sectors, professional groups representing contracting companies, banks and chambers of commerce.

Committee’s Significant Decisions:

  • Taking keeping up measures in favor of Morocco contracting companies suffering from tough situation as well as their staff due to pandemic infection in which it was decided to pay monthly random compensations throughout March, April, May and June to the personnel who were temporarily suspended and authorized by Social Security Fund.
  • Supporting unstructured sector personnel who are not subscribed in social funds and lost their income due to the health state of emergency.
  • Granting the personnel the benefit of adjourning banking loans settlement to 30th, June 2020.
  • Granting large, medium, small and mini enterprises the benefit of suspending the payment of social contributions and adjourning the settlement of banking loans in relation to leasing loans to 30th.June 2020 free from fees or penalties.
  • Reactivating an additional loans line made available by banks including State Central Security Bank under the name of “Oxygen Security”.
  • Enterprises the turnover of which is less than Morocco Dirham 20 million at the end of the fiscal year may postpone the provision of their tax assessment declarations to 30th. June 2020 if they wish to do so.
  • Approving the mechanism of State secured bank financing throughout the recovery of public and private companies which were affected by the pandemic to post crisis stage. This mechanism enables the funding of the contracting companies operation requirements by a maximum interest rate 4% representing the Central Bank main ratio + 200 base point. These loans may be repaid throughout seven years in addition to a grace period of two years.

Preliminary Findings of this Process:

  • Regarding the contracting enterprises, the State guaranteed loan applications “Oxygen Security” process recorded a number of 17.600 company got benefit of the financial coverage of Morocco Dirham 9,5 billion up to 13th, May 2020.
  • For structured companies sector , 134,000 enterprise were reimbursed for the temporary suspension of 950,000 employee due to the pandemic.
  • Regarding unstructured companies sector, more than 4.3 million family got benefit of support.
  • Bank of Morocco (Central Bank) Measures

Under Coronavirus pandemic major consequences impact on world economy and view to the strong doubts threatening of the acuity and prolonged impact of such consequences on most sector in Morocco, Bank of Morocco strived on its part; to support and encourage the families and enterprises to apply for bank loans wherein a set of new measures in connection to monetary policy field or precautionary level were approved represented in the following:

  • Allowing banks to use all means possible of refinancing in Morocco Dirham or foreign currencies.
  • Expanding debentures, bonds and securities scope negotiable by Morocco Bank against refinancing deals made available to banks to include broad new group.
  • Extending refinancing deals maturities.
  • Enhancing Morocco Bank program for refinancing mini, small and medium size enterprises by merging operational loans including investment loans and leverage the refinancing process.
  • Bank of Morocco further has taken a set of measures to keep up credit establishments as a precautionary measure including liquidity, private funds and debts provisions requirements to enhance the capability of these institutions to support families and enterprises under these exceptional circumstances prevailing due to Coronavirus pandemic.

Whereas it is obvious that the World economy will witness a gross recession in 2020, the acuity of this recession and frequency remain doubtful and consequently, certain central banks were compelled to postpone the publication of their expectations while other central banks tended to examine a set of scenarios pertaining the development status. The Central Bank of Morocco in its meeting held on 16th. June 2020 expected that the Moroccan economy shall record the fiercest  decline in 2020 since 1996 by 5.2% while April initial indicators show the impact of the health crisis on the Morocco economy in which all exports reduced by 19.7% and imports by 12.6%, travel proceeds by 12.8%, Moroccans transfers residing abroad by 10.1%.

On the other hand and regarding monetary conditions, the Bank Al Maghrib quarterly survey indicated an interest rate decline by 4 base points to 4.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the drop of interest rate at loans made available to private enterprises. Such decline is expected to continue depending on its association with security mechanism for Morocco economy recovery financing.

The implementation of the State Public Budget during the first five months of 2020 showed a deficit by Morocco Dirham 25.5 billion and the public treasury indebtedness of 2020 is expected to rise to 75.3% of the (GDP) General Domestic Product.

  1. Health State of Emergency and Quarantine Legislations:
  • Borders Closure Measures

On January 30th, 2020, Morocco decided the suspension of air flights to China prior to expulsion of its citizens trapped in Wuhan Province on February 2nd, 2020. Then, the air space and land borders were closed with several countries all over the world including European, African, American and Arabian countries. This decision included Austria, Denmark, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Sultanate of Oman, Jordan and Tunisia and otherwise.

  • Declaration of Health State of Emergency

On March 24th, 2020, two legal decrees were enacted; the first was enactment of health state of emergency provisions, publication procedures and the second on health state of emergency at all Morocco territory to fight Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic infection. These two decrees included the measures required under the health state of emergency and the penalties entailed due to the violation of the same.

  • Measures imposed within the Health State of Emergency Range:
  • Prohibition of persons to depart their accommodation places and taking the preventive and precautionary measures required according to the relevant authorities directions.
  • Prohibition of any transport beyond the accommodation place except in extreme urgent cases represented particularly in the transport to places of work of public utilities and vital professions to be determined by the government or for shopping or to sanatoriums, hospital or for urgent family reasons in compliance with the administrative authorities controls .
  • Prohibition of gatherings and assembling except for professional purposes provided that the preventive and precautionary measure are observed.
  • Closure of shops and other enterprises which receive the public except those excluded by the relevant competent authorities related to nutrition.


  • Penalties entail the violation of Health State of Emergency:
  • An imprisonment for one month to three months and penalty between Dirham 300-1300 or by either punishment shall be imposed against the violator of any of these state of emergency measures.
  • The same penalty shall be imposed against anybody impedes the implementation of the public authorities decisions already taken in application of the Health State of Emergency or urges others to violate the same.

In this context, the legal actions were taken against 91623 violators to the health state of emergency among of whom 4,76% were preventively detained according to the Presidency of Public Prosecution up to May 22nd, 2020.

  1. Judiciary and Courts Sector Relevant Measures:

By virtue of the declaration of the health state of emergency and the restrictions which were imposed, the right of access to the judiciary utilities services has been reduced in several countries all over the world. Courts have been working within the minimized limits and were confined to summary action matters or those cases related to individuals freedom. Lawyers and jurists voices of various countries all over the world were raised calling that the applicable restrictions due to Coronavirus pandemic should not constitute in all respects any prejudice to the state of right and law because the state obligations in the field of law sovereignty and human rights protection remain applicable to all state institutions and bodies during the health state of emergency as the case in normal circumstances. Such institutions shall remain in charge of ensuring legal and judicial security.

The most significant Article of law the impact of which was prevailing in legal practice in Morocco is number 6 of law related to the enactment of health emergency state provisions which reads as follows:

The validity of all dates provided for in the legislative and regulatory provisions applicable during the declared health state of emergency shall be ceased and resumed as from the day following the day on which the state of emergency is lifted”.

The dates of the challenge by appeal of individual detention cases as well the extension of discretionary receivership and preventive detention periods are excluded from the above first paragraph provisions.

This Article practically suspends the holding of all courts hearings unless expressly excluded and in particular “the dates” provided for which is related to all dates and forms and periods provided for in all legislative and regulatory provisions including dates of challenge, service and deposition and otherwise.

  • Prior to that, the supreme council of Judicial Authority on 16th.March 2020 passed an order under which it is decided to suspend all counts’ hearings as from March 17th, 2020 until further notice excluding the following:
  • Misdemeanor and felony cases of detained offenders
  • Investigation cases related to detained or released offenders.
  • Juveniles cases.
  • Summary action matters

The said order urged the courts to take all required measures which ensure the activation of this decision and keen to recruit the minimum limit of human cadres to keep the utility working.

  • Then, on March 23rd, 2020, the Supreme Council of Judicial Authority passed an order addressed to courts’ chief judges to avoid brining the detained to hearing halls except in cases of extreme urgency to safeguard them requesting judges to decide the delay of files without the appearance of the detained and to delay the files of felonies to the end of quarantine.
  • On April 23rd, 2020, the Minister of Justice after consulting the Supreme Council of the Judicial Authority passed an order providing for the application of on line trial of misdemeanor cases by using audio visual aids in hearing the detained offenders. This technology was initiated on April 27th, 2020 bearing in mind that the courts adopted the decision for the suspension of on line depending on the concerned in charge officers approval.

In indication to the on line trial experience findings during the period from 15 to June 19th, 2020, the Moroccan courts held 364 hearings after filing 6521 cases out of which 7891 detainees benefited of. Besides, various courts decided 2523 cases.

The judges and lawyers found themselves face to face with a new kind of cases and legal disputes related to Coronavirus namely civil, social, economic and administrative cases inter alia cases related to violation of health emergency state measures and misdemeanor cases the prevailing majority percentage of which relates to violation of health state of emergency measures or conducting business without license or cheating in connection to sanitizers or masks. During these exceptional circumstances, the significant role of lawyers in the contribution of setting judicial jurisprudence based on accommodation between the protection of public health of community and protection of individuals rights.

Eventually, this report was not meant to judge the Moroccan experience in facing Coronavirus pandemic either by success or failure despite the praise of several organizations, countries and global mass media thereof. It is confirmed day by day that the issue is related to the first phase in the pandemic facing battle.

As long as the pandemic is not eliminated entirely and the economic and social impacts are still beyond indication, it is worth mentioning that the response of Morocco was rapid and was capable to achieve self-sufficiency in relation to medical requirements like masks, medical costumes and otherwise. Besides, Morocco exported the surplus to several European countries and shared its experience with the support and assistance of more than 15 African countries as noted by World Health Organization.

Despite the fact that Morocco was described as scarifying economy for the sake of the citizens’ health and souls, the adoption of an economic and social strategy to face the pandemic Coronavirus was not precluded. The updated health figures in relation to the number of Coronavirus infection cases recorded in Morocco was 10907 case up to 24th, June 2020 among of which 2223 active cases while 8468 recovered cases and 216 death cases.  

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