Increase in school book prices: verdict next week

Barely three months separate us from the next school year and the publishers of school books are still awaiting the official verdict of the Interministerial Commission responsible for ruling on their case. They expect to receive good news shortly, since the Commission has accepted their arguments and has issued a favorable opinion for an increase in the price of approved textbooks, which would be around 20%. This measure should encourage publishers to apply the national preference and to work with local printers.

The tension is at its peak among publishers of school books, but we are getting closer to a positive outcome. There will indeed be an upward revision of textbook prices and the decision should be made by next week. It remains to decide on the percentage increase that will be applied. “The publishers asked for a 67% increase in the prices of school books, but this request was rejected by the Ministry of Finance, which considered it exorbitant”, confides to the “Matin” a source within the Interministerial Commission in charge of the dossier, made up of the departments of Finance, Industry and Commerce, the Interior and National Education. According to the same source, the Ministry of Finance would have agreed to a 20% increase, but the decision has not yet been taken and discussions are still ongoing. As a reminder, the publishers of school books, accused by the impact of the rise in input prices on their profit margins, have seized the Ministry of National Education for a revision of the public selling prices of approved works, which are defined by the said ministry and which have, for the most part, been frozen since 2002. Following this request, an interministerial commission was formed to rule on the subject. After having examined the grievances of the publishers, the latter conducted its own investigation which confirmed the damage suffered by the main parties concerned and demonstrated the need to review the pricing upwards. Today, publishers are still waiting. “We got wind of the information circulating, but no official decision has been communicated to us to date,” said the “Matin” Ahmed Filali Ansari, president of the Moroccan Association of Publishers (AME). For him, these 20%, or even a little more, are far from being sufficient to allow them to recoup their costs and make a profit, but would at least make it possible to mitigate the losses suffered. “With print prices having increased by 70-80%, the Commission’s proposal falls short of our hopes. However, our interlocutors have asked us to make concessions, due to the current situation, and this increase will at least cushion the impact of the damage, ”underlines the president of the AME.

The price of publishing paper has more than doubled
He points out that the prices of school exercise books have, for their part, undergone an increase of more than 60%. But unlike approved textbooks, he notes, “this increase has not provoked any dispute or intervention on the part of the public authorities, because the fixing of prices is free and obeys the law of supply and Requirement”. The publisher also reports that, since January 2022, the price of publishing paper has risen from 700 to 1,520 euros per ton, an increase of 120%, specifying that publishing paper comes exclusively from imports and that the prices are denominated in euros or in dollars. He is once again sounding the alarm about the consequences of any delay in decision-making. “The supply risks experiencing disruptions because of the scarcity of paper and the delay in taking a decision on the revision of regulated public prices”, he warns. Asked about the impact of this increase on the finances of parents, Ahmed Filali Ansari recalled that the “One million schoolbags” operation, which in fact concerns 4.5 million public school students, acquires 80% of the books approved within the framework of the INDH. As a result, he estimates, only 20% of private school students will experience “a likely increase”. “Our main objective is to ensure market supply for the next school year. The current prices are untenable,” he insists. For their part, printers, while acknowledging the legitimacy of publishers’ request for a review of the public sale price of school books, expect them to play the game by making prevail the national preference that the government gives them had notified in March 2021. This is also the spirit of a letter sent by the Moroccan Grouping of Printing Trades (GMI) on June 3, 2022 to the President of the AME. As a reminder, the decision of March 2021 came in response to the complaints of players in the printing sector who denounced the recourse of certain publishers of school books to the printing of several million copies of school textbooks abroad. .




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