How To Start a Business In Morocco In 2019?
A country in full transformation, Morocco is a land where it is relatively easy to undertake and invest.
Business creation has been encouraged by various reforms, including the creation of 15 Regional Investment Centers (RICs) in 2002, which serve as a single window. The restructuring carried out in the 2000s and the modernization of the infrastructures (motorway network, airports, tramway, TGV Tanger Kenitra) contributes to the dynamism of the economy.
Supported by a successful banking system, Morocco’s economy is more dynamic than that of most neighboring countries. The non-convertibility of the dirham should be lifted in 2018.
The main economic partners of the kingdom are France and Spain.
Morocco has about 35 million inhabitants. Casablanca is a modern economic capital and Marrakech is the tourist capital. To note the development of new cities and the creation of free zones.
The city of Tangiers, turned towards Europe and the world trade, knows an unprecedented development following the complete reconfiguration of the city: new commercial port (Tanger Med), creation of free zones and industrial zones, installation of a Renault plant in 2012, not to mention the bridge project (or tunnel) with Spain.
However, the Moroccan economy suffers from several handicaps:
it is still very dependent on agriculture (itself subject to climatic hazards and drought) as well as exports of phosphates,
it remains under-industrialized and dependent on oil imports,
it is marked by corruption and a certain legal uncertainty, the independence of the judges is not assured,
it is still suffering from the heaviness of the administration.
On the other hand, the political system remains locked and strong inequalities remain within the population. The country is also lagging behind in education and training.
Despite these handicaps, the Moroccan economy has a great potential that only needs to be exploited.
Starting a business in Morocco has advantages and opportunities. Here they are.
Start a business in Morocco: buoyant sectors and opportunities.
Here are the main sectors of activity of the Moroccan economy.
Tourism is one of the main drivers of Morocco’s economy. The country is one of the 30 most visited countries in the world, with more than 10 million tourists a year.
Tourism attendance is constantly increasing, with a diversification of the countries of origin of the visitors: formerly the majority, the French visitors saw their share fall to leave little by little place to the tourists coming from Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. United, other European countries but also America and Asia (Japan, China).
The tourist positioning of Morocco has gone up market. Some cities, however, remain specialized in mass tourism, for example, Agadir.
The tourist economy of Morocco is organized around:
Accommodations: guest house, roads, hotels, etc.
Activities offered to visitors: boating, discovery, trekking, excursions, cultural activities, skiing, desert, festive places…
The main tourist cities are, in descending order: Marrakech, Agadir, Casablanca (business tourism), Fez, Tangier, and Rabat.
On the other hand, six coastal resorts were created around 2010, including five on the Atlantic coast and one on the Mediterranean coast, but the results in terms of filling were disappointing. In addition, the renovation project for the Oukaimeden ski resort is still on stand-by.
Tourism in Morocco remains a sector with strong potential, and the creations and takeovers are numerous.
It should be noted that the sector periodically suffers from the risks associated with Islamist attacks.
Agriculture is an essential sector of the Moroccan economy, accounting for 15% of GDP and 40% of jobs. It is a sector very dependent on climate variations. The main crops are cereals, citrus fruits, olives, argan oil, dates, vegetables, and tomatoes. Meat production is also important.
The agric-food industry is developed and efficient. The most exported products are tomatoes, citrus fruits, and olive oil.
The textile manufacturing industry is very important in Morocco and employs a large number of workers. The garment factories are numerous around Casablanca. However, the sector suffers from too little-added value and competition from Tunisia, India and Asian countries. Some European brands, however, prefer to outsource their production in Morocco because of geographical or linguistic proximity.
Moroccan craftsmanship is marked by a remarkable know-how both in jewelry and woodworking, leather, iron, pottery, ceramics, earthenware (zellige) or textile (carpet). The main production centers are located in Marrakech, Rabat, Fez, and Essaouira, but also in other tourist cities. Carried by tourism, Moroccan handicraft is diversified and creative; it enjoys a good image in the world.
Import-export activities are numerous in Morocco, particularly in relation with Spain and France. As Morocco is a poorly industrialized country, imports of manufactured goods are important, while the Kingdom exports its handicraft, agricultural and textile products. Free trade agreements between Morocco and the European Union facilitate trade.
Morocco is famous for its outsourced services to businesses, such as call centers, most of which are based in Casablanca. The success of the call centers is due to a fairly inexpensive workforce mastering French. The banking and financial sector is also dynamic, as is the retail sector.
Morocco is also a land of innovation, and many start-ups are created in the sectors of the environment, energy (especially solar), electronics and new information technologies and techniques. communication (NICT).
Often related to tourism, many cosmetics companies have been created and developed in Morocco. In most cases, these companies value local ingredients, first and foremost argan oil, prickly pear oil, and herbs.
Taxes, taxes, and contributions in Morocco.
Starting a business in Morocco allows you to benefit from a progressive taxation, that is to say rather soft at the start.
The corporate tax, which was previously subject to a fixed rate of 30%, has been reformed: it now ranges from 10% to 31% according to a scale of turnover. Many exemptions exist, especially for companies located in export processing zones (EPZs).
The VAT rate is 20 %, with a reduced rate of 7% and intermediate rates of 10% and 14%.
The income tax is progressive, with six installments ranging from 0% to 38%.
The business tax is an annual tax based on the rental value of stores, shops, factories, workshops, and warehouses.
The rate of social contributions for employees is around 29% (employer’s share: 22% / wage share: 7%). Note that the minimum wage is fixed at around 2,600 DHS monthly. There is no compulsory social protection scheme for the self-employed.
The legal status of companies in Morocco.
It is important to know the legal status before thinking about starting a business in Morocco. Here are the basics.
The individual business.
Sole proprietorship, as opposed to society, does not involve the creation of a new juridical person. The company is legally confused with its ruler, and the patrimonies are not separated. There is no partner, no legal status, and no minimum capital. It is thus a very simplified status, but not always adapted to the risks related to the life of the company.
Limited liability Company.
LLC is a common form of business in Morocco. Modeled on the French SARL, it is suitable for small and large activities. Note that non-Moroccan partners are no longer obliged to associate with people with Moroccan nationality.
The LLC can have up to 50 partners. It can also include only one: we speak then SARL single associate (SARL AU), equivalent to the French EURL.
Minimum share capital:
Since 2012, it is only 1 dh.
The management of the company is provided by the manager, a self-employed person who is not self-employed.
See below the terms of creation of the Moroccan LLC.
SA: public limited company.
This is a legal form that is suitable for large companies.
Minimum capital: 300 000 DHS,
5 shareholders at least,
Management by a board of directors, or by a supervisory board and a management board.
Other forms of business in Morocco.
These forms of business are rarer, and concern specific situations:
Limited Partnership (SCS),
Limited Partnership by Share (SCA).
The steps of starting a business in Morocco.
First, let’s take a look at the main steps to start a business in Morocco:
Find an idea,
Carry out a market study,
Write a financial plan (click to access our free Excel template),
Seek help and funding,
Create your communication tools,
Start the commercial prospection,
Carry out the administrative registration procedures of the company (see below).
Regional Investment Centers (RICs).
IRCs are the one-stop shop for business creation in Morocco. They group the services of different administrations:
The OMPIC (Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property)
The Tax Department,
The court of the first instance,
The National Social Security Fund,
The legalization service.
A single form allows you to register your business in the commercial register while informing the tax office and the social security organization (CNSS).
The steps to start a business in Morocco.
Creative approaches are more complex than in European countries, even if they have been simplified. The mandatory legalization of documents, which consists of passing an employee of the administration to certify the copies in relation to the original documents, is long and costly (stamp of 20 DHS per page). In addition to legalization, the documents must be registered by the administration.
The registration procedures are, in order, the following:
Get the negative certificate: this can be done through the CRI (the one-stop shop for starting a business); this is to verify that the name chosen for the company (business name ) is not already used. This step is mandatory only for companies. You have to fill out an application form and pay 230 DHS. The response of the administration is obtained quickly.
Establish legal status in at least 8 copies. For this, we advise you to get a model or to call a lawyer.
Deposit the capital in a bank (valid only for companies): note that the deposit of capital is no longer mandatory if its amount is less than 100,000 DHS.
Register the documents with the tax office: it will be necessary to present:
Your ID and a photocopy of it,
The original lease (or attestation of domiciliation) and 4 legalized copies of this document (stamp of 20 DHS to be pasted on each page),
the statutes of the company as well as 4 legalized copies (stamp of 20 DHS to stick on each page),
Cost of registration itself: 200 DHS
Proceed to the creation of the company itself: the following documents will be presented:
Statutes (original and 3 copies),
Negative certificate (original and 2 single copies),
Lease contract or certificate of registered residence (original and 2 single copies),
Certificate of deposit of capital (original and 2 single copies),
Proof of identity (5 single copies),
Statement on the honor of the manager (5 copies),
A single form of business creation completed,
The filing of the complete file provides the registration number with the Commercial Court, as well as the identifiers for taxes,
Cost: 400 DHS plus 1% of the share capital, payable in cash.
Publish an advertisement in the Official Bulletin as well as in a newspaper of legal announcements. This approach is also done within the IRC. Attention, the publication of the advertisements to be done in Arabic, the people not practicing this language will have to be helped.
Aid to start a business in Morocco.
There is support for business start-up and investment, in particular in the form of a corporate tax reduction or a check. Some of these aids are sometimes difficult to mobilize.
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