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Social Protection in Morocco

Meknes / Photo HH
Meknes / Photo HH

Despite many advances over the past decade, the Moroccan government has managed only to reduce, not eliminate, poverty. The various programmes do not cover large parts of the country, often reach the wrong people, and are generally poorly targeted and uncoordinated. Food and fuel subsidies that apply to everyone are very expensive and benefit the well off more than the poor. Social protection is fragmented. The state runs four separate national social-security schemes, mutual societies run another eight, and there is a private scheme and a voluntary one run by employers. The CNSS (Caisse nationale de Sécurité sociale) is the most important scheme in the private sector, and its equivalent, the CNOPS (Caisse nationale des Organismes de Prévoyance sociale), is the most important in the public sector. Smaller schemes exist for local and state employees, former resistance fighters, and invalid pensioners.

Because of this fragmentation, there is unequal protection of workers, even in the informal sector, and labour mobility between sectors is restricted. The large informal sector and rural areas are hardly covered at all. Taken together, all the funds provide pensions for only about two million people, 26 percent of the economically active population. In 2009 only 39.8 percent of the population above the statutory retirement age benefited from an old-age pension, and only 31 percent of the economically active population contributed to a pension scheme. To deal with this, a medical assistance programme for poor people has been set up, and a contributory scheme for all employees, professionals, and workers in the informal economy earning more than 500 dirhams (USD 60) per month is being phased in over a five-year period, beginning in 2006. This second scheme will provide health insurance for another 3 million people, to cover the costs of illness, accident, maternity, and rehabilitation.

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