Morocco

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Morocco has extended a ban on international passenger flights until the end of January to fight the spread of the Omicron variant, RFI reported. The closure deals a severe blow to its vital tourism economy, with those working in the sector warning that Morocco is going bankrupt. The National Office of Airports (ONDA) announced on Friday that all passenger flights to and from Morocco would be suspended until 31 January 2021. Royal Air Maroc – the local airline – said that its scheduled exceptional flights between 24 December and 31 December 2021 would still operate.

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Morocco's draft 2022 budget projects a 9% rise in total spending to 519 billion dirhams ($57 billion) according to Finance Ministry documents officially made public on Tuesday after headline deficit and growth forecasts were announced last week, Reuters reported. The budget plan aims to spur economic recovery amid the pandemic and boost spending on public investment, education, health and social welfare, Finance Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui told reporters.
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Coronavirus struck at a tough time for Morocco: it aggravated the impact of a second year of drought, in a country where economic growth is vulnerable to fluctuations in rainfall. Agriculture, which accounts for about 10 per cent of gross domestic product and employs almost 30 per cent of the workforce, was already suffering as a result of two years of poor rains, the Financial Times reported. The pandemic was another disaster, leading to the collapse of the tourism sector and disrupting exports to Europe, the country’s foremost economic partner.

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Morocco's Casablanca appeals court upheld a ruling placing the country's sole oil refinery Samir into liquidation, the lawyer of the holding company that controls Samir said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Samir halted production in August due to financial difficulties, then a court ruling in March placed it in liquidation and named an independent trustee to run it. Its closure has made the country reliant on imports at a time when the North African kingdom is getting its finances back on track by tackling huge deficits.
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