Mohamed Boussaid Defends Govt Budget Calculations Against Criticism by Court of

Rabat – The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohamed Boussaid, presented his mid-term report of Morocco’s financial situation this Thursday, following heavy criticism by the Court of Auditors of the state’s deficit assessment methodology.Moroccan budget deficit was reviewed downward to 3.5 percent by Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Economy and Finance. During his mid-term presentation in front of the Government Council on Thursday, the minister categorically refuted the Court of Auditors’ questioning of the government budget assessment methodology. “Our budget is sincere,” insisted Boussaid. In simple and firm words, the Minister of Economy presented the budget deficit figures for 2017, expecting it “to be revised downwards from 4.1 percent last year to 3.5 percent.” Meanwhile, he pointing out that “the current account deficit of GDP fell to 4 percent this year, after 4.4 percent in 2016.” In the first half of the year, tax revenues increased by MAD 8 billion to  8.3 percent growth rate, revealed Boussaid in his presentation, while ordinary income increased to over MAD 113 billion with an impressive 4.8 percent growth rate. Promising numbers indeed, yet questionable ones according to the Court of Auditors. During Court of Auditors head Driss Jettou’s first presentation in front of the two Parliament Houses on July 4, he criticized the government’s budget deficit assessment methodology, saying that it gives a false image of Morocco’s public finances.Still, Boussaid insists on the absolute correctness of his numbers. “Unlike what some group of the opposition might say, the state does not lie when presenting these figures,” stated the minister, adding that the Court of Autidors’ merely “suggested another calculation method in its report.”The Court of Auditors’ report claimed that “the calculation of the deficit according to the adopted approach does not take into account several data.” For its president, it is crucial that the government reviews its methodology for assessing its budget deficit. The Court of Auditors numbers many figures omitted in the state’s deficit balance sheet, such as the debts relating to the refunds of the State Income tax, the debts arising from transactions carried out but not yet settled by the state, the VAT credit, the overpayment refunds of the Corporation tax, and many other factors disregarded by the government’s accountants. However, Boussaid insists that “the deficit assessment methodology of the government’s is irreproachable.”Boussaid was not the only one unhappy with the Court of Auditors’ report. The parties of the majority, led by the Justice and Development Party (PJD) also believe that Jettou’s institution has “stepped out of line.” “The Court of Auditors’ duty is limited to controlling the execution of the Financial Law and the credibility of financial operations,” stated the party. The PJD heavily criticized Jettou’s approach, stating that the court has no right to “evaluate public policies’ choices,” adding that it falls under the Parliament’s prerogatives.

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