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Friday, October 07, 2022
Written Press

Under an autonomous regime, the southern provinces will have great opportunities to flourish and develop even more, Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid, the chairman of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs told the weekly "Challenge" on April 17th 2006.



 

Challenge: How do you see the economic development of the southern provinces under an enlarged autonomy?

 

Khalli Henna Ould Errachid: as you know, the Sahara is a rich territory thanks to its natural resources and its geographic strategic situation. Under an autonomy regime, it will have all possibilities to flourish and develop even more by relying on its own resources. I am convinced that the autonomous Sahara will generate important benefits for the region, the state and all Moroccan citizens.

Is there any economic model that we can be inspired by?

The economic model is the one which is prevailing in the country. The Sahara will not have an economic model different from the rest of the kingdom as is the case in Spain, Italy and Germany. The general economic policy will always be defined by the central authority. In fact, autonomy is merely a localised and regionalised management by the region’s inhabitants of their own affairs. Generally speaking, the economic system will be similar to the one prevailing in the country, that is to say, a market economy in all its aspects be they public such as infrastructure and social issues or private based upon initiatives in fishing, tourism, agro-industry, trade…

The Sahrawi economy is controlled by a handful of families. Will autonomy mess up this order?

Everywhere, capital accumulation requires capitals. The Sahara is not an exception. I can even say that this is an international phenomenon. In the Sahara, this is more evident because we are dealing with underdeveloped regions where the capital is concentrated in the hands of a number of families. However, one of the main objectives of autonomy is to reduce social gaps and develop all sectors.

Will autonomy of the Saharan territories put and end to the state’s economic assistance?

Within the framework of the market economy, the state has some responsibilities to assume on account of the poor. Therefore, this assistance policy should go on during the first years following autonomy whether through an economic adjustment or a special endowment. After that, when autonomy will develop sectors that will generate the required resources, the state can stop to support and subsidize. It was the case with all autonomy experiences throughout the world. In Spain, when autonomy was implemented in 1978 in Andalusia, Canaries islands and Catalogne, the state provided help for them. Now they constitute wealth suppliers at the local level and economic models worldwide.

What about fiscal advantages which should normally end?

The widespread idea concerning the subsidies granted to the southern provinces is biased. Fiscal advantages are not global. All employees working in the southern provinces pay the General Income Tax. Importators have begun to pay the Value Added Tax as well. Citizens are exonerated only from taxes on companies, trading licence, urban tax and municipal tax. This issue is to be treated within the framework of the autonomy project. No decision has been taken yet in this matter.

 

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