Message from the AmCham President

Dear AmCham Members and Partners:

I hope you, your colleagues and family are safe!

As announced earlier this month, your AmCham is temporarily suspending all activities until further notice. New dates and schedules for events and other activities shall be communicated as soon as possible.

During these challenging moments, the Chamber encourages all members and associates to adhere strictly to the directives issued by the Moroccan Government and observe safety measures to protect themselves, their families and colleagues.

The safety of our community and families is our number one priority. This is a precautionary measure in support of the call by the Moroccan Government to observe social distancing to prevent community spread.

In the coming weeks, we will roll out a series of virtual meetings using free tools provided by our American companies such as Cisco and Microsoft.

Your AmCham will strive to provide updates to keep you abreast of COVID-19 developments affecting governmental services as well as business operations in Morocco.

We also want to hear from you about the economic impacts and challenges you might be facing.

Please send any resources or business concerns to our Managing Director at: r.elalama@amcham.ma – cell: 0661 45 87 07

Stay safe!

Azzedine Kettani, AmCham President

Morocco extends the State of Emergency to April 20th, 2020

The Moroccan Government announced the extension of the state of emergency to April 20th, 2020.

The Government Council approved the draft law 2.20.292 that seeks strict legal actions against anyone who does not respect the state of emergency, in accordance with Article 81 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution.

The month-long state of emergency seeks to ensure that all citizens and residents of Morocco are safe. The measure under the approved draft law 2.20.293 will also prohibit people from leaving their homes except for emergency cases.

The state of emergency aims to restrict social gatherings and the movement of citizens to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, going out for work, essential grocery shopping, and medical emergencies remains allowed thanks to a permit delivered by the local authorities.

Morocco creates a Special Fund for the Management of the Coronavirus pandemic

The Moroccan Government has created a 10 billion dirhams Fund for the management and fight against the pandemic of the Coronavirus Covid-19.

Several large companies have announced their participation in the fund, including OCP (3 billion dirhams), Al Mada (2 billion dirhams), Afriquia (1 billion dirhams), BMCE-Bank of Africa (1 billion dirhams), ANRT (3 billion dirhams) or Saham (200 million dirhams). The fund has reached approximately 27 billion dirhams as per March 23rd, 2020.

All donations are tax deductible from the fiscal result announced the Moroccan Tax Authority (DGI).

A special bank account has been created by the Ministry of Economy and Finance as well as an online platform to help donors make online donations directly to the treasury of the kingdom: https://www.tgr.gov.ma/wps/portal/donsenlignecoronavirus

Morocco creates an Economic Watch Committee (Comité de Veille Economique (CVE))

Morocco has put in place an Economic Watch Committee (CVE) to tackle the impact of the Coronavirus. Placed under the authority of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, this committee includes key ministries such as Commerce, Health, Agriculture as well as agencies such as CGEM, GPBM, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Artisanal Chambers and other Agencies. The mission of CVE is to take swift measures to alleviate the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on companies and their employees.

Here is a summary of these measures for both employees and businesses:

For employees:

The National Social Security Fund (CNSS) has released the terms and conditions for granting compensation to employees placed on temporary work cessation. According to these terms, employees on temporary work cessation will be able to benefit from a net monthly flat-rate allowance from March 15th to June 30th, 2020. They will thus receive the sum of 1,000 DH for the month of March 2020 and 2,000 dirhams for the months of April, May and June 2020. They will also be able to retain their rights to family allowances and compulsory health insurance (AMO) benefits.

This compensation is only granted to employees who have been declared to the CNSS for the month of February 2020. In addition, this compensation cannot be combined with the Job Loss Benefit (l’Indemnité pour Perte d’Emploi (IPE)). As a result, neither the employer nor the employees need to file the forms to benefit from the IPE.

Employees may also benefit from the deferral of reimbursement of bank loans, namely consumer and mortgage until June 30th , 2020.

For businesses:

For their part, companies in difficulty will be able to submit their requests, starting March 23rd, 2020 via a dedicated electronic portal: www.covid19.cnss.ma. The process is easy and can be summarized in two main steps:

Step 1: Access the Damancom portal (www.damancom.ma). In case the employer is not a member of Damancom, the portal will assist to create an account. The employer should receive by email his login and password.

Step 2: Enter the data relating to staff on temporary work cessation and submit a declaration certifying that the total or partial cessation of his activity has been induced by the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

With regard to SMEs and the liberal professions in difficulty, it was indicated that they will be benefit from 1) the suspension of payment of social charges until June 30th, 2020; 2) a deferral for the reimbursement of maturities of bank credits and leases until June 30th without payment of fees or penalties; and 3) an activation of an additional operating line of credit granted by banks and guaranteed by the Central Guarantee Fund (Caisse Centrale de Guarantie (CCG)).

On the tax front, it was agreed that companies whose annual turnover for 2019 is less than 20 million dirhams (MDH) can, if they wish, benefit from a deferral of filing of tax declarations until June 30th, 2020.

 More updates are posted on the Moroccan Tax Authority website: https://portail.tax.gov.ma/wps/portal/DGI/Accueil

COVID-19 crisis did not affect the imports of basic necessities according to Agence Nationale des Ports (ANP)

The port of Casablanca has put in place several measures to ensure the continuity of its activities amid the Coronavirus crisis.

Import activities to supply the Moroccan market with first necessity goods continue regularly, assured the National Ports Agency (ANP) in a press release on Monday, March 23rd, 2020.

ANP’s announcement confirms the Ministry of Industry’s statement affirming that the supply of goods to Moroccan markets is “ensured in sufficient quantities for the coming months.”

Since the start of 2020 and until March 21st, the port of Casablanca recorded over 6.57 million tons of imports, an increase of 3% compared to the same period in 2019.

The port has implemented several health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect workers, in accordance with the recommendations of the ministries of health and of transport.

CISCO offers Webex for Free

Webex is offering users unlimited usage on the most secure collaboration platform globally to help them get through this difficult time.

Cisco has expanded the free Webex offer in all countries where it is available.

Here are the some of Webex features:

  • Unlimited usage (no time restrictions)
  • Supports up to 100 participants

To see what’s included and to sign up for a free Webex personal account go to https://www.webex.com

MICROSOFT offers Teams for free

Teams is a part of Office 365. If your you have a license for Office 365, you already have Teams. Otherwise, here are some simple ways to get it:

 For Individuals:

For IT professionals:

  • If you work for a business that isn’t currently licensed for Teams, you are covered with a free Office 365 E1 offer for six months.
  • If you work in education and want to set up teachers, students, and administrators on Teams, use Office 365 A1. This free version of Office 365 is available to all educational institutions. Sign up by  following this link.

MACECE extends grant applications to June 30th, 2020

Each year the Moroccan-American Commission (MACECE) Awards Master’s scholarships for Moroccan post-licence students to pursue a master’s degree in the United States. These scholarships are funded by the governments of Morocco and the United States.

The Study Grant is for up to two years of study for a master’s degree.

Applicants complete an on-line application form which includes a personal essay, an essay on why they want to study in America, three letters of recommendation, transcripts of their academic record, and a variety of personal information.  Applicants must present scores of the TOEFL and GRE exams (GMAT in the case of master’s in business) and, if selected for an interview, be available in Rabat when called.

Those selected are called “Fulbright nominees,” and they are then placed in the hands of AMIDEAST and learn how to apply to American universities and are given the choice of four university placements.  Nominees hear the results of their university applications in April, and AMIDEAST and MACECE make the final choice among the four universities for the nominee.  This placement is then approved by Washington and upon approval, they are then full-fledged Fulbright grantees and depart for the USA in the summer of the year following application.

The AmCham Water and Sustainability Forum postponed to June 24th, 2020

Please note that the AmCham Water and Sustainability Forum, initially scheduled for Tuesday, March 31st has been postponed to Wednesday, June 24th, 2020.

For your information, we have confirmed a high-level speaker form the official Export Credit Agency of the United States known as the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) who will speak about American financing programs.

More on EXIM can be found here: https://www.exim.gov/

The Corporate Council on Africa’s 13th U.S.-Africa Business Summit postponed

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and the Government of Morocco have jointly decided to postpone the 13th U.S.-Africa Business Summit previously scheduled to take place from June 9-12, 2020 in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Government of Morocco remains committed to partnering with CCA to host the Summit in Morocco, and together with CCA is currently exploring new dates to be announced as soon as possible.

Updates on the 13th U.S.-Africa Business Summit will be posted regularly on the CCA Website CorporateCouncilonAfrica.com, as well as the 13th U.S.-Africa Business Summit Website USAfricaBizSummit.com.

Morocco COVID-19 Special numbers and website

Morocco’s official COVID-19 website: http://www.covidmaroc.ma/Pages/SituationCovid.aspx

In addition to the two telephone lines launched by the Ministry of Health “Allô Yakada” (080 100 47 47) and “Allô SAMU” (141), Morocco launched a new platform “Allô 300” dedicated to provide information and advice to citizens.