Lahcen Daoudi Oil Companies Agree PriceCapping is Reasonable
By Mohammed Amine BenabouRabat – Lahcen Daoudi, Morocco’s minister of public affairs and governance, says he “cannot let oil companies do as they please” with oil prices and pointed to the degree to which Moroccans have suffered as a result of spiking oil prices.“In no way can we leave oil companies to their own devices,” Daoudi said in a statement. “Some of these companies, which set their profit margin at 2 dirhams in the past may increase it to 3 dirhams in the future,” Daoudi said.In a press release, Daouri stated that a meeting Tuesday evening, February 19, with the Moroccan Petroleum Group (GPM), “had initially faced some obstacles.” However, he said oil company representatives agreed that “oil capping is a reasonable measure under the current circumstances.”He also declared that the government is ready to put capping measures into effect, provided that all parties come to a mutual understanding. He stressed that “this mutual agreement will ensure that the margin of profits of oil companies will not rise once a six-month period is over.”Read Also: Morocco Delays Olive Oil Imports for Quality AnalysisDaoudi asserted that “the picture will become clearer” after another meeting with oil companies.Despite the warning of Driss Guerraoui, the Competition Council president, that a government decision to cap fuel prices would be unnecessary and would harm industry stakeholders, Daoudi stated in previous interviews that the government “will cap prices irrespective of the position of the Competition Council.”In negotiations with Moroccan Petroleum Group, Daoudi said he is trying to build a long-lasting agreement with oil companies to regulate oil prices regardless of the rise and fall of prices on the global market.Morocco liberalized fuel prices on December 1, 2015, a move that caused great dissatisfaction, according to Arab Weekly.According to Federation of the Democratic Left (FGD) MP Omar Balafrej, the oil companies’ revenues from 2015 to 2018, which he estimated at MAD 17 billion, were “unethical and unreasonable.”Balafrej called on the government to recover those profits to invest them in providing free “public transportations for students or in building community schools.”“I found it strange that none of the MPs or heads of parties have raised the issue of retrieving the 17 billion dirhams,” he said. “It’s not a ‘trivial’ amount.”Abdellah Bounau, an MP of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), who chaired a committee of inquiry to investigate oil prices last year, stated that the profits of some companies tripled since oil price liberalization. “Their profits went from 300 million dirhams to 900 million dirhams between 2015 and 2016 thanks to the liberalization of fuel prices,” he said.The rising prices from the globally low prices in 2015 have impacted the purchasing power of the Moroccans.