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King Mohammed VI Calls for Government ”For the People” in Address to New Parliament – Jean R. AbiNader

Reminds Members of their Duty to Serve Moroccan Citizens Fully

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
October 13, 2016

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

In his address at the first session of the newly elected parliament King Mohammed VI of Morocco clearly spelled out his vision of the role of those who are called upon to serve the people, either via elections or as members of the civil service.

He noted that this term of office “is even more important than the previous ones. Indeed, it requires that we address, seriously, the real concerns of the citizens, enhance the performance of administrative bodies and improve the services they provide.” And he did not hesitate to both honor and provide guidance to those who have been elected, as well as everyone working for the government.

“The goal all institutions should strive to attain is to serve the citizen. Should they fail in that mission, it would mean they serve no purpose and have, as a result, no raison d’être.” He focused his remarks on the quality of services provided to the Moroccan people on all levels and in all fields.

King Mohammed was quite specific about his concern. “The goal is the same: to enable the citizen to obtain the services he needs in the best conditions and shortest time frame, to simplify procedures and to make sure that services are readily available to the citizens and that institutions are accessible to them.” He also spoke about the critical importance of public service: “Managing the citizens’ affairs and serving their interests are both a national responsibility and a sacred trust, and in this regard there is no room for negligence or procrastination.”

The King scolded those who let special interests rather than the common good direct their efforts, “True commitment to political and party principles means one should put the citizen above all other considerations; it means one should fulfill the promises made to the citizen and show dedication in serving him or her, making those promises prevail over any party or personal interests.”

Why Do People Address Petitions to the King?

He also addressed media accounts recently about Moroccans using social media to petition the King. “Some people do not understand why citizens seek the assistance of their King to resolve simple problems and issues. What this means, in fact, is that something, somewhere, is not functioning properly.” Rather than restate these cases, he said “It goes without saying that citizens resort to me because they find doors shut, or because of some shortcomings in the work of state agencies, or because they want to bemoan some injustice they have suffered.”

The King finds such shortcomings and injustices unacceptable, and he challenged Parliament and government workers to overcome the stereotype of government employees. “The civil service basically suffers from a longstanding culture which is widespread among most Moroccans. For many of them, the civil service is a refuge that guarantees them a monthly salary without their having to account for performance.”

Without hesitation, the King spelled out issues that Moroccan face, be they unnecessary delays and lack of response; missing documentation; excessive costs — including bribes to get routine tasks completed; excessive bureaucracy; or opaque procedures that undermine citizens’ faith in government. He mentioned the Family Law, the moudawana; it was passed more than 12 years ago, yet, “There are some who are still unaware of the content of this law, and who do not know their rights and obligations, particularly among the Moroccan community abroad.”

He urged involved agencies to “See to it that this law is properly implemented, to raise public awareness about its content and to amend and update it as may be needed, in order to overcome the problems revealed by practical experience.”

The King also took on the need for the bureaucracy to reinvigorate services that promote business development and investment, saying that the regional investment centers must support business development by removing obstacles to business formation. Without better services, the King pointed out “Our country is deprived of opportunities for investment and development. And the citizens are denied employment opportunities.”

Success Should Promote Even Greater Achievements

On the positive side, King Mohammed noted successes in bringing major projects online in many sectors, promoting national development. Yet he stressed that the country needs more efficiency and better performance, “to keep up with the progress Morocco is making.”

He called on “the Government, Parliament, political parties, trade unions, civil society organizations, and civil servants to commit to a keen sense of national responsibility in order to come up with real solutions so as to enhance the performance of state agencies and to improve the quality of the services offered to the citizens.” The King went further, saying that there was a need to change attitudes and mindset, as well as the quality of legislation “in order to have effective state agencies that serve the citizens,” and calling for revamped staff training for government employees.

The King concluded by emphasizing that “Everyone is responsible for ensuring the efficiency of state agencies and enhancing the quality of the services they provide because they are the backbone of any reform and are critically important for the achievement of the development and progress we want our loyal citizens to benefit from.”

Through his detailed interest in Moroccans’ concerns with services provided by the government, along with his commitment to better governance and more capable staffing, the King demonstrated that he is paying close attention to what needs to be done to strengthen the social contract in Morocco.

 

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