Morocco to invest $ 10 bn in energy projects

Mar 06, 2009 01:00 AM

Morocco, the only North African state without oil of its own, plans to invest dirhams 90 bn ($ 10.29 bn) in projects across the energy spectrum, its energy minister said. It will build more power plants, expand oil storage capacity and step up exploration for hydrocarbons for the six-year period to 2015, Amina Benkhadra said.
"This plan links the government and the private sector to implement a strategy aimed at securing energy supply and diversifying energy sources at the right costs," he told a gathering of top government officials, bankers and executives.

Business leaders were worried Morocco might fail to produce enough power to meet the needs of an economy growing at an average 5.3 % in the past five years. Morocco's gross domestic product is expected to expand by 6.7 % this year, despite global economy downturn, from 5.8 % last year, according to government forecasts.
The government is also under pressure to cap the bill for energy, 97 % of which is imported. The costs strain its trade balance and test its capacity to avoid a wide budget deficit.

The value of energy imports soared to dirhams 71 bn last year from dirhams 53 bn in 2007 and dirhams 21 bn in 2003, according to official figures which also showed the government allocated dirhams 23 bn to subsidise fuel.

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