Rabat – Moroccan lawmakers on Monday called for a cap on oil firms’ profit margins, describing them as “exorbitant” amid soaring fuel prices in the wake of the Ukraine war.
During a plenary session with Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch – himself the owner of the main fuel distributor in the kingdom – lawmakers accused the government of a “conflict of interests” and of profiting from recent events.
Morocco, which relies on imports for its fuel consumption, has suffered from the skyrocketing prices of fuel and other basic goods since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
“Is the government not supposed to distance itself from conflicts of interest?” opposition MP Ahmed El Abadi asked, calling on the cabinet to “reduce the exorbitant profit margins of fuel companies”.
The premier dismissed the accusations, describing them as “lies”, but went on to outline his government’s strategy to rein in soaring prices.
He said 180,000 transport workers would be offered support to confront the rising prices.
In late March, the government said it would pay out more than $200 million to truck drivers who staged a national strike over spiralling fuel costs.
But that failed to placate lawmakers, who decried the “greed” of fuel distributors and argued that a cap on prices should have been introduced after fuel subsidies were lifted in 2015.
The kingdom scrapped subsidies on fuel that year, later vowing to ease the pain by making direct payments to the most needy families, but a system to distribute such payments was never put in place.