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Morocco Investment Guides

Moroccan Assets

Morocco has opted for a liberal, diversified economy, based on private initiative and largely open on the outside world. It offers conditions of success to investors thanks to its economic potentialities and human resources, to the perspectives which it enjoys as a link between two economic entities, the Maghreb and Europe, and particularly thanks to the will of the authorities to encourage investments.


Thanks to its remarkable performance, particularly in the industrial sector, Morocco is already in a position to contribute to an important potential with a view to engage in an efficient collaboration between operators interested in Morocco and abroad: trade exchange, sub-instructing, join venture investments and technical cooperation.

The country's authorities have continuously strived to improve the investment climate through the strengthening of inducing measures (see the module Morocco's Assets, Royal Letter) and encouragement in favor of both national and foreign investors, notably through the following:

  • Investment Codes interesting various economic sectors: industry, mining, maritime fisheries, real-estate, tourism, handicrafts, exportations;
  • An exchange regulation that authorizes free and automatic transfer of the capital invested and related revenues;
  • An investment credit policy and a reform of the financial system which aims to adapt the Moroccan banking system to European standards;
  • Good quality reception infrastructures in such areas as road network, telecommunications industrial zones;
  • Agreements avoiding double taxation and ensuring investment guarantee along with bilateral and multilateral trade agreements;
  • Harmonization and generalization in the area of accountancy: Morocco has endowed itself with a general Code of accounting normalization;
  • A global reform of the capital market comprising the reform of the Casablanca Stock Exchange, the creation of collective bodies for the investment of movable property under the form of ICV's (investment companies with variable capital) and the creation of common investment funds;
  • The creation of financial offshore markets, the first of which is operational since 1992 in Tangier (see the module Regulatory Code);
  • A large privatization program.

Tax system related to system creation

Taxation of Individuals

Individuals, regardless of nationality or activity, who have their habitual residence in Morocco are subject to a personal income tax (impôt général sur le revenue or IGR) on their worldwide income on a progressive scale between 13 and 44 percent. Individuals not having their habitual residence in Morocco are subject to tax only on Moroccan-source income. Habitual residence status is established by reference to one of the following: (1) place of permanent abode; (2) center of economic interest; and (3) duration of stay in the country exceeding 183 days within any period of 365 days. The issue of double taxation is partially addressed by tax treaties or unilateral relief in the form of tax credit.

Generally speaking, there are no concessions for foreign nationals working in Morocco, but the cost of home travel is exempt from tax every two years, and a substantial reduction in tax on pensions received from other countries is granted. In addition to employment income, tax is levied on professional and business activities, investments and rent.

All compensation paid employees is taxable, including salaries and wages, allowances, pensions, annuities, reimbursement of taxes and all benefits derived from employment. Taxable benefits include the furnishing of an automobile for the employee's private use, housing benefits and profit sharing or retirement plans paid by foreign companies.

An individual taxpayer can deduct from taxable income any necessary traveling and entertainment expenses, provided they are incurred in the performance of that individual's duties, and are justified by the nature of the profession.

Capital registration fees

When forming or increasing capital, registration tax is fixed at 0.50 percent. Capital registration is reduced to 0.25 percent for deeds of partnership or capital increase of investment banks and companies the main purpose of which is either stocks and shares management or application for other companies capital on joint account.

Formalities for the acquisition of investment land:

  • Complete exoneration;
  • Stamp duty;
  • Corporate stocks, founder's shares and bonds issued by companies are all free from both stamp duty and formalities;
  • Notarial tax.

Taxation on imported production materials and other products

Custom duties:

  • Tools : hedge cutters, hand saws, chain saws, etc; Kitchen appliances or food industry machinery; Vechicle spare parts; . Watches and children's toys
  • Cameras

Exemption

Two types of exemptions from VAT are provided. The first is an exemption with credit, equivalent to the zero tax concept, which applies to exports, agricultural material and equipment and fishing equipment. The second is an exemption without credit, i.e., the seller receives no credit for input VAT paid. This exemption applies to basic foodstuffs, newspapers and international transport services.

Among materials exempted are:

  • Materials and products imported under the investment Code;
  • Materials and products imported under customs economic systems;
  • Materials using renewable energies.
  • Import tax levy

The PFI is on imported commodities.

The PFI is fixed at 15%. However it is reduced as follows:

  • To 12.5% for pharamaceuticals or raw materials used in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.
  • Exoneration
  • Exoneration for the import of equipment,materiels,spare parts and accessories;
  • Exoneration for enterprises which engage in research activities involving mineral substances;
  • Exoneration for materials using renewable energies;
  • Exoneration for fertilizers, potassium nitrate for fertilizer usage, potassium phosphate for fertilizer usage and other nitrates;
  • Exoneration for certain antibiotic medical products.

Value added tax

The Value Added Tax (VAT) is a non-cumulative tax levied at each stage of the production and distribution cycle. Thus, suppliers of goods and services must add VAT to their net prices. Where the purchaser is also liable for VAT, input VAT may be offset against output VAT. The standard VAT rate is 19 percent and applies to all suppliers of goods and services, except those taxed at other rates or those who are exempt. A reduced rate of 7 percent applies to specific items such as banking and credit services, leasing, gas, water and electricity. A reduced rate of 14 percent applies to building and construction activities and to the transport and the hotel industries.

VAT rates:

  • Standard rates: 20%
  • Reduced rates: There are three reduced rates of 7, 10 and 14% according to products and services affected.

Exoneration

Among the materials and products exempted:

  • Equipment, materiels and tools acquired locally or abroad;
  • Agricultural materials and products;
  • Materials and products imported within the framework of the customs economic system;
  • Materials used in research and exploitation of mineral substances;*
  • Materials using renewable energies.

Domestic consumer rates

These rates apply to certain categories of commodities imported or produced locally such as lemonades, mineral water, wines, beers, oil products, etc.

Parafiscal tax at importation

  • This tax applies to imported commodities.

The following are not subject to the tax:

  • imports benefitting from the customs economic systems;
  • imports of materials, tools and equipment goods cited in an investment program having received a conformity approval or being the subject of a convention.

Economic potential background

Morocco can be described as a stable economy enjoying steady growth. The Jettou government continues to encourage reform, liberalization, and modernization to stimulate growth and employment.

The Dirham, Morocco´s unit of currency, has experienced growth of 18% since 1990. The economy is expected to be boosted further if, as is expected, Morocco becomes part of the Euro-Med free trade zone. As an important element of the national development plan of Vision 2010, the chief economic objective is to establish a close relationship with the European Union.

With the aid of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an economic reform programme, Morocco has managed to restrict government spending. Today, employment remains mainly within the volatile agricultural sector, but over the long term Morocco will have to move its economy away from agriculture and develop a more stable economic basis for its growth. One area is in the growing tourism market, where significant amounts of employment are being created in the construction and service sectors which will later be transferred to the tourism sector.

Morocco has held inflation rates to industrial country averages over the past decade due to a foreign exchange rate anchor and well-managed monetary policy. Inflation in 2005 was at 2.5%. The country maintains a current account surplus and foreign exchange reserves are strong, amounting to around $15 billion.

In 2005 the Moroccan Government secured a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the USA. The U.S.- Morocco FTA is the second in the Arab world and the first to be made in Africa. It immediately eliminated tariffs on 95% of US trade in consumer and industrial products. Further FTA reforms and liberalization are currently underway.

Agriculture dominates the Moroccan economy, but industry, the service sector, and information technology are growing. Since 1956, the year of its independence from France, Morocco has adopted continuous economic plans to enhance its gross national product growth, local aggregate consumption, private investment projects, government and public infrastructure, and macro-interactions with the rest of the world. Most of these plans have been quinquennial (five-year plans). Erratic droughts and imported inflation, especially attributable to high costs of energy, have impacted the plans. The basic tenets of the Moroccan system address human capital formation and education, democracy and the rule of law, technology and resource productivity, inputs supply and cost, transparent governance and optimum public management, and free market economics.

Companies legal system

Legal form of the company

The types of commercial companies recognized in Morocco are:

Association of persons:

limited companies (LTD) limited-partnership company, participation company. These companies are marked by the predominance of the "intuitu personae" factor. The associates are collectively and indefinitely liable for their company's debt.

  • Association of Capital: limited company (LTD), limited liability company and joint-stock limited-partnership.
  • Firms having a particular regulation: investment companies, consumer purchasing co-operative companies, mutual companies, limited companies and the limited liability companies are most current in Morocco.

1. Limited company(Ltd)

Definition:

The limited company is a trading company in which the associates, called stockholders because of a right represented by a negotiable security or stock, are liable for corporate liabilities to the amount of their contribution.

Characteristics of A Limited Company:

  • The stockholder's liability is limited to his participation.
  • Firms' shares are represented by negotiable shares : the stocks.
  • The face-value of a stock must be DH 50.00 at least.
  • The number of associates should not be less than 7.
  • The associates may be either legal entities, or individuals .
  • The company has no corporate name but a trade name.

2. Limited liability companies

Definition:

The limited Liability Company is an intermediate type between associations of persons and associations of capital.

Characteristics of the Limited Liability Company:

  • The number of associates is not limited. It may be 2 or more.
  • A limited Partnership company is always a trading company, regardless of corporate name.
  • Associate stocks are not negotiable. They may be transferred only through contracts.
  • The capital stock shall be fully described and paid up as the company is formed.
  • "Parts sociales" may be transferred to third parties outside the company, only with the co-associates' consent.
  • The limited Liability Companies shall have a capital of DH 10,000 at least.
  • Stocks shall have the same face value.
  • A limited liability company may choose between either a corporate name or a trade name. The company's name shall be followed by the mention "Limited Liability Company" (SARL).

3. Partnership company

Definition:

A partnership company is the association of two individuals or more, the purpose of which is trading under a corporate name.

Main Characteristics of a Partnership Company:

  • Associates are jointly liable for the partnership's commitments.
  • The associates liability is unlimited.
  • The name borne by the partnership is a corporate name : only the names of the associates may appear in it.
  • The associates are said to be businessmen/businesswomen if the aim of the partnership is trade.
  • A partnership company is a legal entity. No minimum capital is required. The law does not provide for any minimal capital value to "parts sociales".

4. Limited partership company

Definition:

In a limited partnership company 2 categories of associates are included:

  • Active and Responsible Partners: these are silent partners, held indefinitely and jointly liable for all partnership liabilities. All the rules governing the partnership companies are not applied to such partners.
  • Limited Partners: such partners are liable for partnership debts only to the extent of their own participation. Limited partner's names should not appear in the name of the firm. Limited partners cannot manage. By contrast, they can strike working contracts with the partnership and exercise a right of control and monitoring through their membership.

Foreign investment system

Defination

Foreign investment means any input in kind or financial input, meant to help realizing a project, in any form,and carried out by aliens, should they reside or not in Morocco and by Moroccan individuals residing abroad.

Form of investments

Such investments may take the form of:

  • Firm setting up;
  • Participation in the capital of a company in the making;
  • Application to increase the capital of an existing company;
  • Setting up of a branch or a liaison office;
  • Acquisition of Moroccan stocks and shares;
  • Payment into the current account associates in cash or in trade loans;
  • Non-remunerated short term financial participation;
  • Acquisition of real property or the use rights related to the said property;
  • Financing of construction works by proper funds;
  • Setting up or acquisition of an individual business; and
  • In kind participation.

These operations can be made in all economic sectors.

Funding modes

Foreign investments can be funded in currencies:

  • through cession of currencies to Bank Al Maghrib or-through debiting a currency account or an account in convertible dirham.

Investment operations funded in currencies could be carried out without prior permit of the exchange office.

The following cases are considered similar to investments funded in currencies:

  • The investment share funded by debiting a convertible account. This partial funding cannot be over 50 p.c. the rest is cover by the cession of currencies to Bank Al-Maghrib.
  • The consolidation of shareholders current accounts, reserves incorporation, postponement of reserves that became available, in such a way that the corresponding amounts reflect the transferable character.
  • The consolidation of trade loans materialized by the regular importing of goods or equipment and which were not paid in currencies.
  • The consolidation of loans under foreign technical assistance, materialized by patents, exploitation licenses, trade marks, know-how... duly conceded by foreign enterprises.

Transfer of investment revenue

  • The revenues of foreign investments can be transferred without a prior permit for the concerned investors without limiting the time nor the amount.
    The revenues of investment are:
    • Dividends or parts in the income distributed by Moroccan companies; - Attendance fees and percentages;
    • Profits made by Moroccan branches of foreign companies;
    • Rental income; - Interest accued from loans.
  • The transfers are made after the payment of duties and taxes in force in Morocco (15 p.c representing Tax on share proceeds, firms shares and assimilated revenues).
  • Transfer of cession or liquidation proceeds of foreign investment
  • The cession and liquidation operations of foreign investments in Morocco are free. Banks can transfer for the concerned investors the proceeds of the cession or liquidation of their investment as well as the payment in capital principal, of concluded loans.
  • The transfers deal with the nominal value of the investment and on the potential plue-value.
  • The cessions between foreign investors can directly result in a payment abroad.
  • Documents to submit to the exchange office for the foreign investment project

Foreign investors including Moroccan residents abroad should submit, within six months as of the date of the realization of the investment project, to the exchange office (the investment sub-division) directly or via their bank, fiduciary, notary, lawyer. ... a report including:

  • Identity, nationality, place of residence of the investor;
  • Field of activity;
  • The investment amount;
  • The investment form.

The report should be accompanied with the following documents:

For investments financed in currency:

  • A bank certificate
  • The status of the firm, minutes of the consecutive general assembly and a declaration of subscription or of payment. * Minutes of the extraordinary general assembly ratifying the increase of the firm's capial, accord concluded with the partners.
  • Purchase contract or other documents.
  • For the investments financed by goods or equipment : importation duly imputed by the customs and indirect taxes administration and non-payment bank certificates.
  • For investments financed by the consolidation of loans for foreign technical assistance, a contract duly set, showing the nature and facilities.

Documents to submit to the bank for the transfer of foreign investment

a. For the transfer of dividends, the percentage of profit, profit shares:

  • Accounting balance sheets and accounts (exploitation, lesses and profit accounts) the annexed documents related to the payment for which the transfer is requested and the extra-accounting rectifications state made to obtain the fiscal result. These documents should be coupled by a visa by the taxes administration.
  • The minute(s) of the ordinary general assemblies of shareholders deciding on the results of the enterprise and dividing the profits, the amount of dividends and the distribution of percentages.
  • The list of foreign or Moroccan administrators indicating their name, nationality, address, number of bonds held by each of them, and if need be, the gross amount of percentage obtained by them.

b. For the transfer of director's fees:

The list of foreign or Moroccan nationals residing abroad administrators with the indication of their names, nationality, address, gross and net amount granted to each of them as well as the minute setting the global amount of director's fees allowed to the governing board during the fiscal concerned.

c. For the transfer of exploitation benefits of the branches of foreign firms:

The balance sheets and the accounts of the accounting results, the annexed documents related to the fiscal of which payment is requested as well as the stage of the extra-accounting rectifications to obtain the fiscal results. These documents should be certified by the Taxes Administration.

d. For the transfer of the leasing revenues:

inventory of the manager showing the amounts registered through the rents the related fees, including the taxes. The inventory should be coupled with a leasing contract or any other necessary documents and justificative of the taxes payment.

e. For the transfer of payment and loans interests:

Bank certificates justifying the repatriation of the loan the corresponding book of paying back and, if need be the references of the general or particular consent of the exchange office.

Documents to submit to the bank for the transfer of product or cession or of liquidation of of foreign investment:

For the transfer of the product of cession or of liquidation of a foreign investment, the investors concerned should submit to the bank any document justifying the financing of investment in currency.

In addition to these documents, the concerned investors should submit the following documents:

  • For the transfer of the product of the mobile of shares cession: the accounting documents related to the fiscal year of the firm the bonds of which are ceded, the minute of the ordinary general assembly as well as copies of the certificates of the transfer of bonds ceded showing the price of the cession.
  • For the transfer the real-estate product: copy of the sale certificate coupled with the documents justifying the payment of taxes related to the fiscal during which the transaction was made.
  • For the transfer of the liquidation product: the balance sheet of the liquidation duly certified by the fiscal administration, the minute of the general assembly of the shareholders or a copy of the juridical decision pronouncing the dissolution of the partial or total liquidation of the investment, the report of the liquidator showing the net product to divide as well as any document justifying the payment of taxes, if need be.

Labour Relations

Moroccan labour rates are relatively low.Moroccan legislation aims to give workers every protection consistent with respect for the authority and responsibility of the employer. The opening of an industrial or commercial establishment must be reported to the Labour Inspectorate within whose area the company is to operate.

Moroccan legislation aims to give workers every protection consistent with respect for the authority and responsibility of the employer, Apart from ensuring that regulations are observed, labor inspections do their best to preserve the atmosphere of mutual confidence between employers and their staff. The total work force is about 10 million. The Moroccan labor market is one of its strongest competitive advantage.

With the establishment of vocational training programs adapted to companies needs. Among 120,000 young people involved in professional training programs 40 percent comes from the private sector. There is a plentiful, flexible supply of temporary low cost labor (average'hourly earnings of $ 1.00 + 35% fringe benefits including social security Termination of employment can be an issue for permanent employees but is permitted for overall workforce reduction, poor individual performance or as a disciplinary measure. In the first two cases, the worker is entitled to one month of compensation pet year of service. Permanent employees are generally represented by one of the major national unions. Current management-union relations are positive and free of counter productive interruptions

Social charter, or the Social dialogue Starting in June 1995, the social dialogue symbolized a new modern Moroccan attitude toward the economic and social issues.

In fact, this is the first time that government, trade unions and employees are acting in harmony to adopt common positions on measures that will address themselves to all classes of society and will find a way to support the national economy. On June 1996, an agreement was reached between these parties on issues such as:

  • the improvement of wages for the entire workforce,
  • a raise of 10% of the minimum wage,
  • 100,000 housing units under construction.

Employer - Employee Relations
The work contract binding the employer to each of his employees is governed by the Royal Decree of August 13, 1913, which lays down a code of obligations and contracts. The employer must first try to recruit personnel through the employment office of the area where the firm is to operate. If the employment office cannot provide a candidate, or if none is accepatable to the employer, a person of the employer's own choice may be recruited, but the employment office must be informed within eight days of such recruitment.

Working Conditions and Unions
Wages and salaries can be freely discussed between workers and employers, but the level must not be lower than that fixed by law . Apart from agreed pay increases, which are always possible, an indexing system enables the government to raise by decree all wages and salaries effectively paid when the Central Commission for Prices and Wages records an increase of at least 5% in the cost of living. Wages tend to vary from one industry and location to another. Moreover, wages are generally higher in industry than in the building trade or in agriculture.

Labour disputes are heard by the Labour Tribunal. This court is headed by a president and includes assessors chosen from among employers and workers.

The decree of July 16, 1957 gives workers the right to join together in unions for the protection of their rights. Some of these unions are relatively important: Union Marocaine du Travail (UMT) which is the longest established and the most important, Union Generale des Travailleurs du Maroc (UGTM) and Confederation Democratique du Travail (CDT).

The employer's association is the Confederation Generale des Entreprises Marocaines (CGEM) which is the CBI equivalent.

Workers have the right to strike in defense of their collective interests.

Foreign Personnel Working in Morocco
Work and residence permits are issued at the request of the company concerned to foreign nationals who have suitable professional qualifications to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. This contract properly filled is necessary for obtaining a residency permit. These formalities are simple.

Last Updated on Tuesday 5th January 2010

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