* “As Morocco continues to implement reforms in its 2011 Constitution, it demonstrates an enduring commitment to change that can serve as an example to similar reform-minded political movements elsewhere in the region.” *
David Bloom, MAC
January 13, 2014
Earlier this month, Morocco’s Governing Council adopted new procedures aimed at increasing Parliamentary oversight over the early stages of the budget process.
The move is intended to create a more participative, transparent, and objective-based budget process, which was “developed using a pragmatic and progressive approach in accordance with the Constitution,” according to AtlasInfo.fr.
As with many of Morocco’s ongoing reforms, the new budgetary procedure is in lock-step with principles enshrined in the 2011 Constitution, as well as recommendations advocated by experts.
Only eight months before the adoption, a World Bank report identified transparency and an open budget process as the “true stakes” of Morocco’s governance reform.
The report concluded that “the adoption of a new budget law introducing performance budgeting and fiscal transparency…would contribute to the shaping of a sound governance model.”
Morocco had already begun the process of budget transparency in 2012 by publishing a “citizen’s budget.”
It is an annual simplified national budget, the most recent of which can be found here.
This drew special praise from the International Budget Partnership, which monitors budget openness across the globe and ranks Morocco as the second most transparent in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Morocco looks to improve even more with the recent changes to the budget process.
The new budgetary process contains several features. Parliamentarians will have access to new and more specific data on the budget from the beginning of the process, and will be given more authority over agenda setting and voting procedures.
Controls will also be implemented, such as the limitation of complicated special treasury accounts and more clear assignment of responsibility to funding recipients.
New budgets will feature “Budget Honesty” controls with more project and objective-based items, along with a new yearly-updated rolling triennial programming process.
Procedural reforms don’t tend to make front-page news, but Morocco’s moves to open up the budgetary process have serious implications for the country.
As Morocco continues to implement reforms outlined in the 2011 Constitution, it demonstrates an enduring commitment to change that
can serve as an example to similar reform-minded political movements elsewhere in the region.