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History of the OC: evolution of a liberalization process marked with prudence and pragmatism

 

The "Office des Changes" was created in 1944 and reorganized by the Royal Decree (Dahir) of January 22, 1958. It contributes to the implementation of the Government’s exchange guidelines through the development and implementation of regulatory exchange measures.

This regulation has undergone several phases of evolution, from a restrictive regulation to the establishment of gradual exchange liberalization, paying particular attention to the expectations and real needs of operators.

In the Eighties: the "Office des Changes" began the real change of its regulations

Since the 1980s, Morocco has opted for progressive liberalization of exchange regulations, which has, in practice, benefited almost all foreign transactions. The "Office des Changes" thus granted delegations to authorized intermediaries (Banks and Treasury departments) to freely carry out transfers relating to import, export, international transport, insurance and reinsurance transactions, foreign technical assistance, travel, education, medical care, savings on income, as well as all other operations considered to be day-to-day operations.

1993: Morocco endorsed Article VIII of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement

The liberalization process was crowned by the endorsement of Article VIII of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund on the convertibility of current transactions by Morocco, on January 21, 1993.

Extending to a number of capital operations, including foreign investments in Morocco, external financing mobilized by Moroccan companies, investments and placements made by Moroccan legal entities abroad, the establishment of an export credits system, the use of financial risk hedging instruments, etc., the convertibility of the dirham, adopted by the Kingdom, has largely exceeded the requirements of Article VIII of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement.

1996: Morocco put in place an exchange market

The establishment of an exchange market in Morocco in 1996 is undoubtedly one of the main concrete manifestations of the integration of the Moroccan economy into the circuit of globalization and financial globalization. Thanks to this new market, Moroccan exporters and importers can negotiate preferential exchange rates, but also hedge the exchange rate risk.

2007: the "Office des Changes" supported the opening of the Moroccan economy

In 2007, the liberalization measures taken by the "Office des Changes", which mainly focused on the opening of the capital account, were able to consolidate the liberalization process while allowing the national economy to protect itself against the various risks and to strengthen its competitiveness.

Among the key measures taken in 2007, Moroccan investments abroad can be mentioned. These operations were previously subject to the prior agreement of the "Office des Changes".

The "Office des Changes" thus authorizes resident legal persons, having at least three years of activity and whose accounts are certified by an external auditor, to transfer up to 30 million dirhams per year, to finance their investments.

The measures introduced also concerned the accounts in foreign currencies and convertible dirhams in the name of the exporters. The "Office des Changes" increased the share of foreign exchange receivables to 50% to be credited to these accounts for the settlement of all their professional foreign exchange expenses, compared with 20% previously.

2010: The "Office des Changes" consolidated a regulatory framework based on respect, trust and responsibility

In 2010, important liberalization measures were adopted, thus consolidating the system put in place by the "Office des Changes" throughout the last two decades.

These measures aim at enabling economic operators to boost their activities by opening up new horizons to invest abroad, to strengthen their export capacity and to have the tools they need to compete in an increasingly globalized international market, in particular by increasing the share of export earnings to be deposited by exporters of goods and services in their foreign currency or convertible dirham accounts, and the opportunity granted to them to establish themselves in markets offering significant growth opportunities, particularly in Africa.

The measures taken in 2010 also allow Moroccan citizens free access to foreign currency from banks to meet their legitimate needs, whether in terms of tourist trips, medical care abroad and e-commerce.

2011: The "Office des Changes" codified its regulations

On November 16, 2011, the "Office des Changes" published the first version of the General Instructions for Exchange Operations.

The General Instruction for Exchange Operations is a single document that contains all the provisions of the applicable exchange regulations, that were previously scattered in various Instructions, Circulars, Notes and Letters addressed to authorized intermediaries.

It is composed of articles in three distinct parts: the regulations between Morocco and foreign countries; common operations and capital transactions; a clear and simplified structuring allowing the user to easily find all the provisions applicable to one or more operations concerning him.

And currently? The Office is pursuing its vision of regulation easing and the simplification of procedures.

The majority of foreign exchange operations can be carried out by economic operators directly to authorized intermediaries. The number of operations requiring prior authorization of the "Office des Changes" is increasingly reduced. As an indication, the amount of operations requiring prior authorization of the "Office des Changes" in 2016 only represents 3.97% of the total amount of transactions on the foreign exchange market for the same year.

In the era of dematerialization and digitization, the "Office des Changes" is adapting and reinventing itself. It initiated a vast project of dematerialization of its procedures and processes: a unifying project carried by all its components.

The online declaration and online services have thoroughly reconfigured the main administrative procedures of the "Office des Changes", especially those relating to the declarations of the exchange operations and the introduction of the requests for authorization, thus offering an efficient and personalized service for citizens, economic operators and partners.