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Social protection: the World Bank will grant a loan to Morocco

The World Bank is preparing to grant Morocco financing of 500 million dollars to support the Royal Project for the generalization of social protection. It is intended to finance a new program covering the entire reform for health and social protection, in particular the institutionalization of the legal framework, the progressive universalization of compulsory health insurance, the strengthening of skills and the infrastructure of health, subsidy reform and the expansion of pension schemes.

Strong mobilization of the World Bank to support the Royal Project for the reform and generalization of social protection. According to an official source, the Bretton Woods institution plans to grant Morocco funding of $500 million in support of this flagship project which aims to place the promotion of the social sector and the improvement of the living conditions of citizens at the heart of the dynamics of economic development. According to our source, the government and the World Bank have already reached an agreement in principle to carry out and co-finance this project through a program entitled “Reform of health and social protection in Morocco”. The dedicated $500 million loan must be approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors before June. This collaboration includes three pillars covering the entire government reform for health and social protection, including the adoption and institutionalization of the legal framework, the progressive universalization of compulsory health insurance, the strengthening of health and human resources, the implementation of the family allowance program, the reform of subsidies and the expansion of pension schemes.

“This financing from the World Bank thus supports the 2021-2026 government program which adopted the Royal Guidelines and the proposals for the new development model, the most immediate priority of which would be to strengthen the foundations of the “social state”, underlines the same source. According to the loan document submitted for the approval of the World Bank and of which “Le Matin” has a copy, the Moroccan program foresees profound changes both on the demand side and on the supply side of the health system. On the demand side, it aims to extend health insurance coverage to the 11 million people who are uninsured, moving from 70% to universal coverage. On the supply side, it proposes building and modernizing health infrastructure, creating a family medicine system, establishing a new public health service, decentralizing service delivery to the regions and implementing implement an integrated health information system.

In addition, the transformation of current social protection programs into an integrated system of family allowances has the dual objective of reducing poverty and vulnerability, while strengthening the human capital of the children it targets. Furthermore, the reform program also aims to improve the financial sustainability of the pension system and extend pension coverage to self-employed and self-employed workers.
According to the loan document, the World Bank financing generally supports the first three pillars of the strategy of “strengthening the foundations of the social State”: 1) the extension of protection against health and old-age risks through the generalization of health insurance and pensions; 2) the overhaul of the health sector and; 3) the creation of a “real” social assistance system targeted at the most vulnerable families.

The reform program put in place strong cross-cutting governance

At the first pillar level, the Bank-supported reform program establishes strong cross-cutting governance and a sustained institutional architecture. Governance begins with a framework law on social protection that defines the reform, clarifies the objectives and roles of the different parties involved and sets concrete deadlines. To steer this complex and multisectoral reform, an interministerial committee is provided for by law and was created by decree. In terms of institutional architecture, a new national registers agency is created to manage the national population register and the unified social register. Finally, the National Social Security Fund is being reorganized to become the main implementing agency for the integrated and expanded health insurance and pension systems.

The second pillar supports universal health coverage with the aim of protecting all Moroccans against health risks. In addition to the extension of compulsory health insurance coverage to 11 million self-employed workers, priority actions under this pillar also include the integration of the existing non-contributory scheme (Ramed) as a component of the health insurance scheme compulsory, as well as its harmonization with the contributory components and the improvement of its targeting. Added to this is the reorganization of the supply of health services to meet the increase in demand and strengthen human capital. These include establishing the primary health level as the entry point for an integrated health service delivery system, creating a new public health administration and deconcentrating health service delivery while planning regional health networks.

As for the third pillar, it supports a major overhaul of the social protection system. This includes harmonizing child-focused social protection schemes into an integrated family allowance system and extending its coverage. It is also about creating a family fiscal space for allowances by gradually removing subsidies for sugar, flour and butane gas. This third pillar also includes improving the targeting of family allowances and other schemes through the unified social register. And that’s not all. It aims to simplify contribution rates and collection mechanisms for existing pension schemes and to introduce a new pension scheme for self-employed workers.

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