Rabat – Petrol prices rose to record highs in Morocco on Thursday, fuelling anger among unions who demanded the government of energy tycoon Aziz Akhannouch act to protect consumers.
Drivers in Morocco, which relies heavily on imported oil products whose prices have soared since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, must now pay 18 dirhams ($1.80) for a litre of unleaded petrol and 16 dirhams for diesel.
In an open letter on Wednesday, leading union the Democratic Confederation of Labour (CDT) called on Akhannouch to “urgently intervene to protect the purchasing power of the working class and the population in general, and to take into account how much they are suffering.”
Three other, smaller unions called for a national strike on Monday in the civil service, local authority and the transport sector to protest at rising living costs.
Morocco has seen months of rising prices and growing calls for caps on energy firms’ profits.
Akhannouch himself has come under fire as the main shareholder of Afriquia, one of the country’s main fuel companies.
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The government has so far refused to reinstate fuel subsidies removed in 2015, but has doubled its budget for subsidising cooking gas, flour and sugar.
It also said in March it would pay out some $206 million to help out truckers who staged a national strike over spiralling fuel costs.
Government spokesperson Mustapha Baitas said Thursday the government was examining adding to those payments but that prices were “linked to the international context” and could surge yet further.
The opposition Socialist Union of Popular Forces has called for lower taxes on consumption and higher corporation taxes.
#Petrol prices in #Morocco are steadily andquietly heading to a record-high 20 dirhams per litre. The high fuel prices will certainly take their toll on food and transportation costs ahead of the summer holiday season pic.twitter.com/Ekg8LNZIYx
— Saad Guerraoui (@SaadGuerraoui) June 16, 2022