News: Headlines from the Moroccan Press: Tuesday, December 4, 2018

ICT on beverages: The advisors propose a progressive scale: "After two weeks of intense discussions, the House of Councillors' Finance Committee adopted on Sunday evening the proposed amendments to the 2019 Finance Bill. The councillors relied on the taxation of soft and non-carbonated drinks as imposed on manufacturers by the House of Representatives. The validated amendment consists in removing the specific VAT of 70 dirhams on drinks containing more than 5 grams of sugar per 100 ml, which Members had introduced at first reading. The fact that manufacturers will no longer benefit from sugar compensation motivated the advisers' decision to abolish this tax..."

COP 24 Summit: Antonio Guterres: "Need to catch up on climate change": "Climate change is advancing faster than efforts to combat global warming," said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Speaking Monday in Katowice (Southern Poland) at the opening of the Summit of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Mr. Guterres deplored the devastating impact of climate change on many parts of the world, regretting the insufficient actions taken to capitalize on the enormous social, economic and environmental opportunities of climate action..."

Scrapping premium, VAT soda: The key amendments of the advisors: "The various parliamentary groups and groupings decided to withdraw 156 proposed amendments during the voting process, representing 70% of the total initially tabled. The Finance Bill (PLF 2019) has taken a new step towards its final adoption. Indeed, the Finance, Planning and Economic Development Committee of the Chamber of Councillors has just adopted, by a majority, the first part of the PLF 2019 devoted to fiscal and customs measures. In detail, the parliamentary advisors were able to introduce some 31 amendments after initially tabling 219 proposals..."

Royal Message to COP24: Environment and climate challenges as a national policy priority: "The Kingdom of Morocco has placed environmental issues and climate challenges among the priorities of its national policies, said His Majesty King Mohammed VI in a message to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), which opened its work on Monday in Katowice, Poland..."

Renewable energy professions: The Tangier Institute activated in 2019: "Training in sustainable energy is developing. After Oujda, the government is working on the operationalization of the Institute for Training in Renewable Energy Professions and Energy Efficiency in Tangier. According to a source authorized by the Department of Vocational Training, IFMEREE Tangier, whose construction work was completed earlier this year, is expected to be operational in 2019. The department, in collaboration with the public and private partners concerned, is currently working on the organisational and managerial aspects as well as on issues relating to the provision of continuing and initial training..."

HM the King visits the Gabonese President, Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, at the Rabat Military Hospital: "His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist Him, visited the President of the Gabonese Republic, H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba, on Monday at the Mohammed V Military Training Hospital in Rabat. During this visit, the Sovereign asked about the state of health of H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba, who is on a medical stay in Morocco for the purposes of rehabilitation and convalescence..."

ANRT is preparing its general guidance note 2019-2022: "The National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT) is preparing its new general guidance note (NOG 2019-2022). This document, which has been drawn up regularly since 2004, is a kind of roadmap that takes into account the accelerated developments in the sector in the region - and the world - to adapt to them. The last NOG was adopted in March 2015 but, since then, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge with the VOIP crisis, increased competition between operators, the second crisis linked to unbundling, which has brought new operators up to the niche against Maroc Telecom, which owns the infrastructure..."

COP24. The king is making the move: "After instructing energy officials in Morocco to raise the kingdom's level of climate commitments, the King marked the occasion yesterday at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Prince Moulay Rachid read his message to the participants at the official opening ceremony of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is a message of hope, mobilization, and firmness in which the sovereign expresses the wish that COP24 "will make it possible to consolidate the global commitment that has already been made on this issue" and "to go to the essential point, which is to take concrete and proactive measures in favor of developing countries, in terms of technology transfer and respect for the financing commitments made to them"..."

Morocco-Belgium: About thirty deals: "OCP, Holmarcom, Groupe El Eulj, Maroclear, Prayon, Jacobs Engineering... the national operators were at the rendez-vous of the great Belgian mission in Morocco. Nearly thirty partnership agreements have been concluded. The deals concerned promising sectors: renewable energies, water, chemicals and parachemistry, engineering, training, logistics, etc. A positive impact in terms of job creation and investment is strongly expected..."

CMR's "secure" investments: "With a portfolio of MAD 95 billion (market value), the Moroccan Pension Fund (CMR) is the second largest institutional investor in terms of volume of managed reserves. However, the valuation of the reserve fund contracted by 3.1% in 2017 compared to 2016. The unrealized capital gain reached 14.95 billion dirhams against 14.89 billion dirhams a year earlier..."

Would the Green Morocco Plan threaten food security? : "Once again, the Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (IRES) is sounding the alarm: our external dependence on cereals will increase in the long term due to population growth and the high frequency of droughts. Indeed, the import dependency ratio rose from 14.03% between 1963 and 1971 to 43.44% between 2002 and 2013, recalls the sixth edition of the Strategic Scoreboard on the evolution of Morocco's international positioning recently made public..."

Raja, once again master of Africa: "Nothing beats a victory in the Continental Cup to make the Raja fans feel happy. 15 years after their last African crown, the Green and White sent tens of thousands of people to the streets for communion. Across the country, new heroes were celebrated. A new generation of supporters will be able to identify with new champions and take on a founding date, December 2, 2018..."